TROY --- Freshmen Jakevan Leftridge and Desmond Williams made their much-anticipated Troy debuts on Saturday afternoon, leading the Trojans to a 104-53 victory over Shorter College at Trojan Arena.
The freshmen duo each scored 10 points, while forward Davion Thomas contributed a career-best 19 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes of work.
Six different Trojans reached double-figures for the first time since Dec. 22, 2016 (92-84 victory over Cornell), while the Trojans scored over 100 points for the first time since Nov. 16, 2017 against Brewton-Parker (106-71).
"We made an extremely difficult decision today to play Jakevan and Des [Williams],” Troy head coach Scott Cross said. “Both of those guys came to me and said they were ready to play, and we knew that they were two of our most energetic guys and they were weapons on the defensive end of the floor, which is what we felt like we were missing.
“We needed a little bit of extra defense and energy and they provided that today. Both are extremely quick and can cover a lot of ground. And then they're intelligent basketball players as well. I thought they did a great job. They were really flying around tonight and really made Shorter take difficult shots.
“We implemented a 2-2-1 press into a matchup zone for the first time as well, which I thought gave Shorter some problems. It was one of our crucial defenses at my previous school so it's important for us to master it, which I think we did."
After trailing 6-3 at the first media timeout of the ballgame, the Trojans (2-6) seized control of the game, using a 21-3 run to take a 24-9 lead with 8:53 remaining in the half.
Troy continued to increase the advantage down the final moments of the half, using another 8-0 run to open up a 20-point lead with three minutes and 52 seconds remaining in the half.
Shorter (2-6) would respond, cutting the Troy lead to just 15 points (35-20) with three minutes to go. In the final moments of the half, the Trojans responded, using a 9-2 advantage to close the half up 44-22.
Following the halftime break, the Trojans exploded for 60 points, shooting a blistering 65.8 percent from the field (25-38) in the second period, led by Thomas and KJ Simon (11 points, six rebounds and five assists) who each scored nine points in the half. Troy enjoyed its largest lead of the game (52 points) after Jalen Tuck hit his second 3-pointer of the night, with 1:03 left in the game.
For the game, Troy shot 40-71 (56 percent) from the field and hit a season-best 13 3-pointers. Every Trojan on the roster saw action Saturday with 13 different Troy players scoring at least two points.
Troy returns to action on Wednesday against North Alabama. Tip-off at Trojan Arena is 7:15 p.m.