TROY — Troy’s shooting went the way of the weather — very cold — and Chattanooga’s Matt Ryan took over down the stretch to lead the Mocs past Troy 74-68 on Tuesday night at Trojan Arena.
With Troy leading 60-56, Ryan, who scored a game-high 21 points, pulled his team within a basket. Troy’s Tahj Small hit one of two free throws then Ryan drilled a 3-pointer that tied the game 61-all with 3:20 remaining.
Chattanooga got a free throw before Troy’s Zay Williams’ dunk gave the Trojans a one-point lead with 2:21 left. Williams led the Trojans with 18 points.
But the Mocs scored the next 10 points — including a three-point play by Ryan — to put the Trojans away.
Troy fell to 0-2 and struggled shooting the ball in the second half. Troy was just 2-for-10 from behind the 3-point line and was 11-for-31 in the second half.
Foul shooting was even worse. The Trojans made 6 of 19 fouls shots. It was the worst free throw shooting since they went 3-for-10 in a home win over Alabama State in December of 2005.
“This game was a tale of two halves,” Troy head coach Scott Cross said. “The first half we were locked in mentally. I thought our guys played about as good as we could have defensively.
“The second half we came out complacent and it just kind of whittled away. You could see our guys getting tighter and tighter. We made some very careless turnovers and then started standing up and not in a good defensive position. It got harder and harder for us to make baskets.”
Darian Adams scored 14 points for Troy. Chuck Norman was next with 11. Troy outrebounded the Mocs 47-37, but also turned it over 16 times to their 12.
David Jean-Baptiste had 13 points for the Mocs.
Troy took a 12-point lead into halftime. After losing all but five points of an early 14-point lead, Troy’s Adams hit a step-back 3-pointer for a 29-21 lead.
The Trojan defense contributed as the Mocs were just 2-for-11 from the field down the stretch. That allowed Troy to open up its cushion. Adams, who led the Trojans with 11 points in the first half, scored from near the baseline with 3:24 left on the clock.
Ty Gordon hit a fallaway and Davion Thomas, who was next with eight first-half points, hit a 3-pointer and a 36-24 lead. After the Mocs’ Jonathan Scott hit a 3, Troy’s Norman hit a catch-and-fire triple with 41 seconds on the clock for a 39-27 lead. It stayed that way through halftime.
Troy had a nice start. About five minutes into the game Williams hit from the right baseline to make it 6-5. That started a 10-3 run. Then Thomas, Gordon and Adams made consecutive 3-pointers to build a 23-9 cushion with 11:32 left in the first half.
“It’s on me. I’ve got to figure out a way to get these guys better — and we will,” Cross said. “It’s going to be a process with this group. I thought it would happen a little quicker but it hasn’t. So we’ve got to get back to work.”