TROY, Ala. – They needed a second half comeback, but the Troy Trojans (6-10, 1-4) took down UALR (9-8, 3-3), 67-64, on Saturday night at Trojan Arena. It is the first Sun Belt win of the season for Troy, and snapped a three game losing streak.
Emil Jones had the ball with under one minute to play, leading by one, but his jumper went begging off the front rim. Ray Chambers made a great move to get position on the UALR defender and caused a tie-up with 17.3 seconds to play, giving Troy the ball back. R.J. Scott then hit two clutch free throws after the inbound pass, putting Troy up three. Josh Hagins' desperation 3-pointer was off, giving Troy the win.
“We finally executed down the stretch tonight,” Troy head coach Don Maestri said after the Trojans first Sun Belt win of the year. “We got offensive and defensive rebounds, we hit free throws down the stretch especially with R.J. (Scott) hitting those near the end. Our kids were determined to play hard and if it was time to win a game, it was tonight.”
UALR took a 10-point lead midway through the second half, but Troy responded with a 15-2 run to take a three-point lead. Both teams battled back-and-forth for the remainder of the half, before Troy closed out the game.
Jones led the team with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Westley Hinton scored 10 points and grabbed nine boards in his first career start, while Chambers scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Troy won the battle of the glass, 33-28, but turned the ball over a season-high 17 times. Troy had one of its best shooting games of the season, finishing at 46.8 percent (22-of-47) from the field and 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from beyond the arc. UALR shot 48.1 percent (25-of-52) from the field and 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from range.
Troy trailed by one at the break, after Jones hit a mid-range jumper in the final seconds to send both teams to the locker room. Each team held a six point lead at one point.
The Trojans are back in action on Thursday, January 5, when they host ULM at 6 p.m. The game will be televised live on the Sun Belt Network.
For more information on Troy Athletics, be sure to visit TroyTrojans.com. Fans can also find Troy on Twitter at @TroyAthletics or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TroyAthletics.