TROY, Ala. – Wesley Person poured in 21 points, but his efforts were not enough as Troy was unable to complete the comeback on Thursday night in an 81-76 defeat to conference-leader Louisiana.
After trailing by five at the break, Louisiana (24-4, 14-1) overpowered Troy (13-15, 7-9) for the start of the second half, but the Trojans began to storm back after the Ragin’ Cajuns took the largest lead of the night at 70-57 with 6:59 remaining.
The deep ball was what got Troy back into it as Javan Johnson hit two threes while B.J. Miller added one as the Trojans rallied to cut the deficit to two with 3:39 to play. That would be as close as it would get as Troy’s repeated efforts to get the tying basket went unrewarded.
Both teams traded layups around the two-minute mark to keep Louisiana’s lead at two and then dueling sets of free throws from Justin Miller and Person again kept the lead stagnant.
Bryce Washington put Louisiana up four with a layup, which was immediately answered on the other end by a Jordon Varnado layup. Trailing by two with 28 seconds left, Miller fouled Marcus Stroman near midcourt at the start of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ possession who proceeded to hit both free throws.
Kevin Baker’s 3-point attempt with 17 seconds remaining dampened Troy’s hopes of finishing off the rally. Those hopes were effectively ended after Jonathan Stove hit a free throw with 13 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
“It’s a disappointing loss because I didn’t think we played particularly well, but we still had an opportunity to win the game,” head coach Phil Cunningham said. “We stayed with them for most of the game and fought back at the end of the game.
“We just couldn’t finish them off. Two areas that stand out are getting outrebounded on the offensive glass and that Louisiana drove on us in the second half. We got in foul trouble and they got to the free-throw line. They hit their free throws in the second half.”
Senior Day is Saturday against Little Rock at 4:15 p.m. as Troy honors seniors Kevin Baker, Juan Davis, Jr., Jaro Moravek and Wesley Person.
• Troy had the worst outing of the year from the charity stripe as the Trojans were 9-17 (52.9 percent) from the free-throw line.
• Jordon Varnado scored five points on two field goals. It was the first time he had two or fewer field goals since Dec. 4, 2016 against Alabama A&M.
• Wesley Person is now 14 points shy of becoming the first player in program history with 2,000 career points.
For more information on Troy men's basketball visit TroyTrojans.com or follow the team on social media at @TroyMensHoops.