TROY, Ala. (LR Trojans) – Little Rock (15-16, 6-12 SBC) led for nearly 35 minutes, but went without a field goal for the final 4:04 in a 57-54 loss at Troy (18-14, 10-8 SBC) on Saturday night.
Troy closed the game on a 12-2 run – with the final 10 of those points coming at the foul line – to earn the win.
Little Rock led 52-45 with under four minutes to play after back-to-back 3-pointers by Kemy Osse. But Troy scored the next 10 points to take its first lead since the opening minutes.
Jordan Varnado’s bucket with 3:44 to play started the run, while the rest of Troy’s points in the spurt came at the foul line. Wesley Person’s free throws with under a minute to play gave Troy its first lead, 53-52, since the opening minutes. He added two more with 26 seconds to play to put Troy up 55-52.
After Marcus Johnson Jr. was fouled and hit two free throws to make it one-point game, Person answered with two for Troy to push the margin back to three, 57-54.
Little Rock was unable to get up a game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Osse led Little Rock with a career-high 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He made four 3-pointers and all four of his free throws on the day.
Little Rock limited Troy to 33 percent shooting in the contest. Troy made just 14 shots and five 3-pointers in the game, but made 24 of 31 at the foul line.
Person led Troy with 20 points while going 12 of 12 at the foul line. Varnado scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Little Rock and Troy were tied at 23-all heading into halftime. Troy shot just 26.1 percent in the first half, and went over eight minutes without a made field goal at one point.
Little Rock used a 10-0 first-half run to open up a 15-7 lead. Johnson’s trey at the 14:43 mark put Little Rock up a point at 8-7. A jumper by Maurius Hill followed shortly thereafter. A jump hook by Oliver Black and an old-fashioned three-point play by Osse put the Trojans up 15-7 with 10:08 to play in the half.
Troy was scoreless for over six minutes during the run, and went over nine minutes between field goals at one point. Little Rock’s lead was 19-11 after two free throws from Jackson with 6:40 to play in the half.
The Trojans led 23-16 with under four minutes to play in the half before Troy closed the frame on a 7-0 run to tie the score at 23.
Little Rock will be the No. 10 seed at the Sun Belt Tournament in New Orleans and will play Louisiana or Coastal Carolina depending on the outcome of tonight’s Louisiana-UTA matchup. Tipoff from Lakefront Arena on Wednesday will be 5 p.m.
Sun Belt Championship Tickets
The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are scheduled for a week of March Madness in the Big Easy. New Orleans will once again be home to the two championships that will take place at Lakefront Arena from March 7-12 and ticket books can now be purchased from your school's ticket office. For more information, visit the Sun Belt Conference's championship central websites - Men's Championship – Women's Championship – and be sure to follow the #FunBelt on social media – @SunBelt.