A career-night by Deonata Jethroe proved to not be enough, as the Troy men's basketball team (11-17, 6-11) was defeated by Louisiana-Lafayette (11-17, 7-10), 76-66, on Thursday night at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.
"They came back twice in the second half," said Maestri. "We really battled tonight. It's hard when you get down three times. I saw some real determination. They fought really hard tonight."
Despite trailing by as many as 14 points early in the half, Troy would tie the game up late, but couldn't take a lead, eventually falling by 10.
Jethroe would finish with a career-high 20 points, breaking his previous high of 16. Ray Chambers was second on the team with 15, while Hunter Williams scored 14. The Trojans couldn't hold back the Cajun shooters, with Alan-Michael Thompson hitting 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
"DJ played a great game. He was one of the big reasons we got back in the game," Maestri said. "He hit the boards and his intensity helped us."
Louisiana-Lafayette went on a quick 8-2 run to begin the second half, taking a 42-28 lead. Troy responded with a 13-2 run to cut the lead to just three points with 13:20 to play. The Trojans would tie the game up at 57 on a put-back by Jethroe with 5:37 to play, before going cold to close out the game.
Troy shot 42 percent from the field (24-of-57) and 33 percent from range (7-of-21). The Ragin' Cajuns were 23-of-47 from the field (48.9 %) and 7-of-15 from deep (46.7 %). Troy outrebounded Louisiana-Lafayette 32-28.
The Trojans got down early, trailing by 13 points eight minutes in, but fought their way back with a 10-0 run, led by two big 3-pointers by Jethroe. The Ragin' Cajuns would close the half on a run of their own, taking a 34-26 lead into the break.
The Trojans now travel to Jonesboro, Ark., to take on Arkansas State on Saturday night at 7 p.m., for their third attempt at win number 500 for Maestri. Troy defeated the Red Wolves in the previous meeting this season, 74-67 in overtime one month ago.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Troy Athletics Dept.