LOGAN, Utah – Three points proved to be the difference for the second day in a row, as Troy (4-6) fell to Western Illinois (5-6), 61-58, on Friday night at the 2013 BTI Classic, hosted by Utah State.
“Everybody talks about toughness being on defense, but you have to have offensive toughness too,” said head coach Phil Cunningham. “We didn’t have it tonight. The tougher team won tonight, that’s the bottom line. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but that’s our team right now.”
Troy held a 13-point lead late in the first half, but the Leathernecks of WIU slowly chipped away before taking a lead of their own with four minutes to play. The Trojans battled back to tie it up, behind a layup by Kevin Thomas and a 3-pointer by Tevin Calhoun, but did not score in the final 2:42. WIU’s Jabari Sandifer hit the game-winning free throws with six seconds to play.
Calhoun led the way for the Trojans with a season-high 14 points. He also tied for the team-high with five boards. Hunter Williams scored 12 points, all in the first half, while Thomas had 13 points and five rebounds.
The Trojans struggled from the free throw line, hitting 11-of-25 (44.0 %). Troy shot well from the field, making 20-of-42 (47.6 %) attempts.
Western Illinois shot 38.8 percent (19-of-49) from the field and 25 percent (3-of-12). WIU held the rebounding advantage, 31-31.
The BTI Classic concludes tomorrow night, with Troy taking on host Utah State at 9:05. Live stats, audio and video will be available on the men’s basketball schedule page on TroyTrojans.com.