TROY, Ala. – A hot start by the Blue Raiders in both halves proved to be too much, as Troy (11-19, 6-13) fell to Middle Tennessee (26-4, 18-1), 56-66, on Thursday night. Ray Chambers led the way for the Trojans with 17 points and eight boards.
“It was like a heavy-weight prize fight,” said head coach Don Maestri. “In the first meeting we got knocked out in the first round, but tonight we went toe-to-toe with them.”
Troy cut the lead to eight at the 9:36 mark in the second half, but couldn’t get any closer. Middle Tennessee would go on a 10-0 run soon after, putting the game out of reach.
The Trojans struggled mightily from the charity stripe all night, shooting 11-of-23 (47.8 %). They shot 37 percent from the field (20-of-54) and 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from beyond the arc. Middle Tennessee was 26-of-50 from the field (52 %) and 3-of-10 from range (30 %).
“Middle has beaten some SEC teams this season,” said head coach Don Maestri. “They are clearly the best team in our league. They can make a run in the NCAA tournament.”
Chambers shot 7-of-10 from the field on his way to 17 points. He hit 3-of-4 from the free throw line and grabbed eight boards. Antoine Myers and Tevin Calhoun also scored in double-figures, with 10 and 11 points each. Marcos Knight was the game-high scorer with 20 points. Troy hung in on the glass, grabbing 33 boards to Middle Tennessee’s 36.
After trailing by as many as 11 points midway through the first half, the Trojans cut the lead to just five at the break. That was the closest that the Trojans got, eventually falling by 10.
The Trojans host South Alabama in the regular season finale on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Troy will honor its senior class, Chambers, Emil Jones and Justin Wright, prior to the game.