Troy men knocks off EKU, women sweep Christmas Classic

Published 9:41 am Friday, December 22, 2023

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The Troy Trojans (6-6) men’s basketball team picked up an 88-81 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (4-7) at Trojan Arena on Thursday night.

The win was the first in the Scott Cross era when an opposing team scores more than 80 points. Both teams shot well from the field with Troy shooting 45.5 percent and Eastern Kentucky shooting 42.6 percent. The Trojans also took care of the ball, turning it over a season-low five times, while forcing 16 turnovers and scoring 16 points off turnovers. Eastern Kentucky, though, was able to win the rebound battle 40-26. The Trojans also knocked down 10-of-24 three-pointers.

“I am super proud of our guys. This is definitely a huge win for us, especially since we lost a tough one up at their place earlier in the year,” Cross said. “They are a hard team to prepare for because they are so aggressive defensively, they are pressing the whole time, and they have some guys who can really shoot the basketball. Man, I am proud of our guys. I felt like we really tried to defend. I thought (Christyon Eugene) was phenomenal. In my opinion, I thought this was one of his best all-around games.”

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Eugene had another big night for Troy, scoring 24 points. He also dished five assists, earned two steals and grabbed four rebounds. Myles Rigsby chipped in with 18 points, six rebounds and a block, while Tayton Conerway tallied 15 points and two steals. Dothan native Thomas Dowd also earned 11 points and four rebounds.

The Troy women’s team also picked up a second straight win 81-66 over New Mexico State to sweep the Austin Peay Christmas Classic. It also marked Troy’s third win in the last four games.

“I saw a complete group of winners. From the moment we met as a group this morning to the game’s final possession,” Troy Coach Chanda Rigby said. “We had a winner’s mentality. I’m so proud of these girls. They came out and ended the non-conference schedule strong. Makayia Hallmon played lights out and our post players controlled most of the game. I want to mention Nia Daniel. She helped us get out to a hot start and unfortunately had to leave early with an injury, but she was huge in the beginning. I don’t think anyone could care less about the stats they put out as long as they win the game. They are so happy to represent Troy and this is a tremendous Christmas gift.”

Makayia Hallmon had a big night with a season-high 30 points to lift Troy past New Mexico State. She also earned two rebounds, two steals and two assists in the win. Tai’Sheka Porchia contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, while Shaulana Wagner added 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Veteran Felmas Koranga – returning from a season-ending injury last season – played a season-high 10 minutes in the win as she works her way back into the Trojan lineup.