Indianapolis, Ind. – The Troy Trojans took part in a defensive battle Saturday night from the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse but fell to Butler 70-59.
Troy (1-1) was led by Efie Odigie, who had 13 points, then Duke Deen with 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists. The Trojans shot 43 percent from the floor and had 17 points of Butler turnovers.
Butler (3-0) had the crowd behind the, as the Bulldogs were led by Chuck Harris, who recorded a career-high 23 points on the night, followed by Jair Bolden, who had 21 points. The Bulldogs were hot behind the three-point line as they were 12-25 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs out rebounded Troy 35 to 21.
“I’m proud of our guys and the way they performed,” head coach Scott Cross said. “The first half was one of the best defensive performances I have been a part of as a coach, and we had them on their heels, and we showed who we can be defensive. We have to learn from this, and I have complete confidence that we will bounce back. This team has a chance to be special.”
After both teams scored on the first possession, there were 0 points for the next three minutes until Rifen Miguel broke the deadlock after battling down low for an easy layup and giving the Trojans the lead.
The defensive affair continued as neither team could find a rhythm, but the Trojan’s defense traveled as they forced six Butler turnovers in the first ten minutes, and it continued as the Bulldogs failed to score a field goal in seven minutes. The Trojans would finished the game having forced 21 Butler turnovers.
The Trojans used that high-energy defense to lead to the offense as Desmond Williams got a steal and took it all the way to give Troy a 10-point lead.
After knocking down back-to-back threes, the Bulldogs had a run of their own, which forced a Trojan timeout. After the timeout, Odgie got positioned under the basket for an easy two to stop the run.
With the score 23-20 in the Trojans favor, it looked like Troy would go into the half with the lead. After a missed shot with only second left, Butler got the rebound, and a Bryce Nze one-handed heave well beyond half court went off the backboard and in. After a lengthy review by the officials, it was ruled that he got it off in time, and the shot would count to tie things up at the half 23 all.
That seemed to be the momentum shifter as Butler would come out of the halftime break hot. They shot 62 percent from the field and was 4-4 from the free-throw line in the half while Troy was three for eight.
Nick Stampley got the Trojans started in the second half after hitting a corner three, but the lead wouldn’t last as Simas Lukosius converted a three-point play to give Butler the 31-29 lead, which was their first lead of the game since 5-4.
Butler continued to stretch the lead to 4-31 until an Odigie three from the top of the arc stopped the run and got Troy back within six.
A Butler 9-0 scoring run saw their lead go to double digits for the first time all game, as the Trojans had a another scoring drought last three minutes until Stampley pulled up from eight feet and ended the drought.
It wasn’t enough as Butler forced four Trojan turnovers towards the end of the game and would get the victory at home.
Up Next: The Trojans will return home to Trojan Arena on Tuesday, November 16, as they take on in-state rival Jacksonville State.