TROY — Despite enjoying a lead for 32 minutes and 11 seconds, the Troy Trojans men’s basketball program fell 70-65 to Appalachian State University at Trojan Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans (5-8, 1-1 Sun Belt) led App State (8-4, 2-0 Sun Belt) 61-49 with 13:18 remaining in the ballgame, but a 21-4 run by App State handed the Trojans their first Sun Belt Conference loss of the season.
“There are two plays that stuck out to me today,” Troy coach Scott Cross said. “The first one was a loose ball when we were up seven. There were two different guys who could have dove on the floor and gotten the ball.
“Instead App dove on the ball and hit a shot. That was a huge play. Then when we were down three at the very end of the game, they missed a free-throw and we allowed a long offensive to rebound.
“App State was tougher than we were down the stretch, both mentally and physically. We missed countless layups and missed some open shots. They made it tough for us on the defensive end, and then they finished on the offensive end. You have to credit App State.”
In defeat, four different Trojans scored in double-figures led by Darian Adams (13 points) and Charles Norman (12 points).
The loss snapped a four-game home winning streak for the Trojans, the longest streak a Troy team has compiled since 2017 (Feb. 18-Mar. 4).
Troy opened the game Saturday afternoon on a 10-3 run over the first two minutes and 53 second of play, to take a seven-point advantage.
After an 18-7 outburst gave the Mountaineers a four-point cushion (21-17) with 9:36 left in the half, the Trojans outscored App State 28-18 down the stretch to take a 45-39 lead into the halftime break.
Troy hit eight 3-pointers in the first stanza and converted all nine free-throws they attempted. The Trojans shot 8-of-16 from behind the arc in the period.
Following intermission, App State scored the first two baskets to cut the Troy advantage to just 45-43 with 18:24 remaining.
Following the App State surge, the Trojans scored 12 of the next 14 points to take a 12-point advantage with 14:18 remaining in the game.
After a pair of App State free throws cut the Troy lead to 10, Zay Williams connected on a field goal with 13:18 remaining that gave the Trojans a 12-point lead.
Then the shots stopped falling.
A Ty Gordon floater gave the Trojans a 65-63 advantage with 3:27 remaining in the game, but Troy didn’t find the bottom of the basket the rest of the game.
The Trojans had opportunities down the stretch, including a possession with 2:28 left and the score tied at 65, but a deep Justin Forrest (25 points) triple gave App State a three-point advantage with 1:45 remaining.
App State connected on just two-of-six free-throws down the stretch, but the Trojans couldn’t take advantage, missing their final five shots after the Gordon runner. In total, the Trojans missed 17 of their final 18 shots, as App State rode the 21-4 run to a five-point victory.
The Trojans return to action on Jan. 2, at Sun Belt foe ULM. Tip-off from Monroe is scheduled for 7 p.m.