BOCA RATON, Fla. – Troy is heading home as champions of the Paradise Classic after the Trojans 83-78 overtime win over FAU, Monday night.
“Our team played phenomenal down the stretch,” head coach Scott Cross said. “It started on the defensive end, and we had so many guys step up and finish plays in overtime. There was plenty of times we could have withered away, but we kept fighting, and it’s one the best wins I’ve ever been a part of.”
For Troy (4-2), Duke Deen led the Trojans once again, finishing with 17 points. In his second game of the season, Duke Miles scored 16 points, including the game-winning basket, and had three steals, all at crucial moments and resulting in points for Troy.
FAU (3-3) was led by Alijah Martin, who had a game-high 22 points but would miss the go-ahead free throw with seconds remaining. The Owls had 46 total rebounds, which was 10 more than Troy but was just 1-4 from the field in overtime.
It was the second overtime win for the Trojans this season, and just like the first, it was Trojans coming out on top, much in part to their defense. The Trojans forced 16 turnovers in the game, and despite shooting 22-35 from the free-throw line Troy would be a perfect 4-4 in the overtime period.
With it tied at 68 all in regulation, Miles missed both three throws, and FAU would get a call on the other end and converted a three-point play, which Troy would get back with T.K. smith getting a basket and the foul but would miss the free throw, and Troy would be down one.
With the score of 76-73, Deen would be fouled on a three-point attempt and go on to make all three free throws and tie it 76-76 in regulation.
In overtime, with the shot clock winding down, Miles got the ball at the top of the key and drove the lane, lost his defender, and used the glass to score before the shot clock had expired making the score 81-78. Troy didn’t allow the inbound pass to get to an FAU player instead it was Miles once again getting the ball and getting fouled to head to the free throw line and make it 83-78 and send Troy home with the victory.
Trojans didn’t have their first game lead until Zay Williams hit a three at the 13-minute mark.
Brandon Weatherspoon of FAU hit a three on back-to-back possessions to give the Owls a five-point advantage which was a part of a 12-1 run by FAU over three minutes.
Kieffer Punter made his fifth straight three over three days and ignited a Trojan run in which Zay Williams and Duke Miles would each follow with their own three to bring Troy within one with the score of 33-32.
After being down seven in the second half, the Trojans would go on to hit four three straight threes, with T.K. Smith hitting back-to-back threes. Then, after a Miles steal and layup, Troy would see their largest lead of the game at seven.
A flagrant foul was called on Desmond Williams, and FAU was able to get within two, followed by the Owls tying the game at 60 all.
Zay Williams, who finished with 14 points, was clutch down the stretch as he would secure a defensive rebound and got the ball on the offensive end to give the Trojans the lead for good in overtime.
Up next: The Trojans won’t be back in action until Sunday, November 28, when they travel back to Florida and visit Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators.