Troy rallies to beat Arkansas State in Sun Belt Tourney

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Troy Trojans came from behind to beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves 63-59 in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 2.

Arkansas State led for more than 25 minutes of game time and despite struggling for much of the second half – and trailing by as many as 12 points – Troy got hot late in the game.

With Troy trailing 51-45, the Trojans went on an 11-4 run that brought the ASU lead down to 55-54 with 4:23 left. After Arkansas State knocked down a pair of free throws, Troy went on a 7-0 run sparked by a Nelson Phillips dunk that cut the ASU lead to 57-59 with 2:40 left. Phillips then drilled a three to give the Trojans a 57-59 lead. Zay Williams stole the ball from a Arkansas State’s Caleb Fields as he drove the basket and Aamer Muhammad capped off the run with a pair of free throws that stretched Try’s lead to 61-57 with 11 seconds left.

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Arkansas State quickly hit a layup to cut it to 61-59 but had to foul Muhammad to conserve time and he drilled both free throws with just five seconds left to secure the Trojan win.

Troy shot 35 percent from the field, while Arkansas State shot 45 percent. The Trojans forced 10 turnovers and scored 14 points off those turnovers, while Arkansas State tallied just two total points off turnovers. Troy also won the rebound battle 39-30.

Phillips led Troy with a double-double, earning 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Zay Williams totaled 15 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Jackson Fields chipped in with eight points and six rebounds, while Christyone Eugene earned four steals and three assists.

The win secured Troy it’s 20th win of the season, marking the first time the Trojans have won 20 or more games in back-to-back seasons since 2004. The Trojans will look to keep the momentum going on Saturday, March 4, as they face off against No. 4 seed James Madison in the Sun Belt Quarterfinals at 2 p.m.