TROY, Alabama – Troy kept trying to claw back all night, but the effort wasn’t enough as Texas State outlasted the Trojans for a 75-71 victory at Trojan Arena on Monday night.
After scoring 93 points in the 93-71 win against UT Arlington on Saturday, Troy (10-9) had trouble getting baskets to fall against a Texas State defense that came into the game ranked first in the Sun Belt in allowing only 62.9 points per game.
The Bobcats (10-7) outshot the Trojans both from the field, 47.2 percent compared to Troy’s 42.9 percent, and from 3-point range, 43.8 percent versus 33.3 percent. Texas State also had a 32-30 scoring in the paint.
It was a slow start for both squads as a layup and a free throw on a foul by DeVon Walker gave Troy a 15-13 lead with 8:17 remaining in the first half. Two free throws by Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, who led all scorers with 17 points on the night, tied the game up at 15 with 7:45 to go in the opening frame.
Texas State then went on a 12-8 run to go into the half with the 27-23 advantage. It snapped a two-game streak of Troy owning the halftime lead.
Jordon Varnado tied Walker with a team-high 14 points on the night. His layup two and a half minutes into the second half gave Troy its biggest lead of the night at four.
Things quickly turned against the home team following that basket. From the 17:27 mark to the 9:36 mark, the Bobcats went on a 23-7 run to lead 50-38. The 12-point lead was the highest the margin got to in the game.
Virtually every big basket Troy hit to cut into the deficit was quickly answered by Texas State. Wesley Person, who finished with 13 points after scoring 39 on Saturday, was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws to get the lead down to five with 3:05 to go.
Yet Texas State hit a 3-pointer with just three seconds left on the shot clock to get the lead back up to eight. Jeremy Hollimon hit a layup while fouled and sank the free throw, but once again the Bobcats hit a three in the ensuing possession to gain a 67-59 advantage with 1:21 remaining.
The Trojans attempted to hang on with two 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds, but the lead was too high as the Bobcats hit 5-of-6 free throws to close it out.
“They did to us what we did to UT Arlington on Saturday,” head coach Phil Cunningham said. “They just kept hitting shots and never let us get back in it. They were the tougher team on the floor. We told the guys that they did to us what we’ve done to teams all year long. You better be tough when you’re playing Texas State and I thought they were the tougher team.”
Stat of the Game
For the third straight game, Troy was outrebounded on the offensive boards as Texas State had the 14-12 advantage in offensive rebounds. With the Trojans trailing by five with 2:17 remaining, Texas State grabbed two offensive rebounds in the ensuing possession before burying a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock. DeVon Walker had four offensive rebounds.
Wesley Person hit a 3-pointer with 14:55 remaining to give Troy a one-point lead, but Texas State answered on the next possession with a three of its own to take a lead that would not be surrendered. The Trojans only scored three field goals from the 14:30 mark until just 5:23 remained in the game.
• A win against Texas State would have given Troy three-consecutive wins in Sun Belt play for the first time since winning three-straight in February of the 2010-2011 season.
• Jeremy Hollimon increased his streak of scoring in double-digits to 13 games. He had 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
• Troy was solid from the free-throw line in converting 16-20 (80 percent) on the night.
The Trojans will be back on the road with a trip to Arkansas this weekend. Troy will take on Arkansas State on Saturday and Little Rock on Monday. For more information on Troy men’s basketball, follow the team on social media at @TroyMensHoops or visit TroyTrojans.com.