College Basketball: Trojan women complete comeback, men struggle at Marshall

Published 10:32 am Monday, February 20, 2023

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The Troy University women’s basketball team rebounded to beat Appalachian State by a score of 73-66 at home on Feb. 18, while the men’s team stumbled to a 88-78 loss at Marshall.

After losing to Coastal Carolina on Feb. 16, the Trojan women (17-10, 12-4) had to come from behind to beat the Mountaineers. Troy trailed 18-14 after one and the Trojans were down 38-31 at halftime. Appalachian State extended its lead to 59-48 going into the fourth quarter but Troy took over in the final period. Troy outscored Appalachian State 25-7 in the fourth quarter and shot 10-of-18 in the final period to earn the come-from-behind win.

Troy dominated the boards, outrebounding Appalachian State 55-35 but was outscored in the paint 34-32. The Troy defense, however, forced 24 turnovers.

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Ja’Mia Hollings earned her fifth double-double in the last eight games as she tallied 16 points and 15 rebounds with three steals. Makayia Hallmon also had a big night with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. Amber Leggett just narrowly missed her second straight double-double as she brought down 10 rebounds with six points. Tai’Sheka Porchia chipped in with 14 points, eight rebounds and one block.

With the win, the Troy women remain tied for first place in the Sun Belt with James Madison. Both teams will wrap up the regular season this week as Troy travels to Southern Miss on Feb. 22 and South Alabama on Feb. 24, while JMU travels to Appalachian State on Feb. 22 and hosts Marshall on Feb. 24. JMU holds the head-to-head advantage over Troy.

Darius McNeill (1) goes up for a layup against Marshall. (Photo courtesy of Troy University Athletics)

The men’s team (17-12, 9-7) saw their four-game winning streak come to a close on Saturday at Marshall. The Trojans shot 47 percent from the field, while Marshall shot 50.8 percent on the night. Marshall won the rebound battle 40-32, as well.

“The only way you’re going to win a game like this is by being extremely tough and playing great defense,” Troy coach Scott Cross said. “We tried to outscore them, and that’s not us. That’s not our formula for victory. We got up 70 shots and scored 78 points but gave up 88 (points).

“In order to be successful, it’s no secret that we have to hold them to under 40 percent (shooting). We have to win on the boards and we have to win the hustle points. We didn’t do those things. Credit to them.”

Nelson Phillips had a big night for Troy with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Darius McNeill scored 18 points and dished four assists. Zay Williams also scored 12 points and brought down eight rebounds.

The loss puts Troy in a two-way tie for fifth place in the Sun Belt with Old Dominion. The Trojans travel to ULM on Feb. 22 and host Coastal Carolina in the regular season finale on Feb. 24.