By Josh Brown
GREENVILLE — It’s been an issue all season for the Troy boys basketball team, but particularly during this stretch where it’s lost six of its last seven games.
“We just can’t stop anybody from scoring,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said. “It’s a problem.”
To be fair to the Trojans, though, everyone has had trouble keeping Greenville’s Isaiah Gable from scoring.
The Green Wave senior broke the 1,000-point mark for his career with his first five points of the night on his way to a 31-point performance, and though the Trojans cut a 21-point deficit all the way to one, they could never get over the hump in an 86-78 loss at Greenville Tuesday night in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play.
The loss dropped Troy to 5-11 on the season and 3-8 in division play, while Greenville improved to 9-6 and maintained its hold on second place in the GWOC American North at 7-4. The Wave also completed the season sweep and won their eighth straight against the Trojans, who it also defeated 75-67 in the season opener.
Four Trojans scored in double figures on the night, with the 78 points being the second-biggest scoring output by the Troy offense this season. However, the 86 points was also the second-most the Trojans have given up in a game this year.
“That’s been our problem,” Bremigan said. “We can’t give up 86 points in a game and expect to win. And we can’t score 78 points in a game and still lose.”
After a Ryan McClurg jumper tied the score at 7-7 early in the first, Greenville closed out the quarter on a 14-3 run, with a 3-pointer by Trae Wood making the score 21-10. Then Gable hit a 3 to kick off the second quarter, prompting a timeout as he was honored for reaching the 1,000-point milestone. Peter Pandey scored on a fast break, Gable hit another 3 and then Gable threw down a dunk to give Greenville its biggest lead of the game at 31-10 with 5:39 still remaining until halftime.
The Trojans, however, were not out of fight — even though leading scorer McClurg was forced to sit out with foul trouble.
“That hasn’t been a problem all year,” Bremigan said. “We’ve been coming from behind all season. It’s kind of a recurring theme for us. I thought our kids all played pretty well, even without Ryan on the floor.”
Keenan Kinnel ended Greenville’s run by converting a three-point play, then another Kinnel bucket inside, a 3 by Eli Palmer and a steal and layup by Kinnel cut the Wave’s lead to 34-20 and forced a timeout at the 4:01 mark — but layups by Zach Reichelderfer and Hayden Kotwica got Troy to within 10 at 34-24.
Aaron Rich hit a 3 to slow Troy’s momentum, but only momentarily as Devon Larger answered with a 3 then hit a pair of free throws to make it an eight-point game — which was where things sat at halftime, with Greenville up 42-34.
Kotwica stayed hot to start the second half, hitting a jumper and then a 3 in transition to cut the lead to 42-39. Zion Taylor then started a fast break that Kinnel finished to cut the Greenville lead to one, but the Trojans missed a shot that could have given them the lead, with Gable finishing on a break the other way for some breathing room. The Trojans got to within one two more times in the third quarter, but each time they did, the Wave was able to respond — and it went into the fourth quarter holding onto a 62-59 lead.
A jumper by Palmer got Troy to within one for a final time, as turnovers on each of the Trojans’ next four possessions allowed Greenville to score nine unanswered points, and then a steal and layup by Wood made it 73-61 Greenville and forced a Troy timeout with 5:19 to play.
“We’d get it to within one, then we’d turn it over,” Bremigan said. “We’d get it to within two or three, then we’d turn it over. It hurt us. In the first half, they handled us on the boards and that hurt us. We rebounded better in the second half, then our turnovers hurt us.”
Troy had one more run, beginning with a Reichelderfer layup and foul. He missed the free throw, but McClurg got the rebound and hit a jumper to complete a four-point swing, then Troy got a stop on defense and McClurg canned a long 3 to cut the Greenville lead to 73-68 and force a Wave timeout with 3:47 to go.
There weren’t many more defensive stops to be had, though, as Gable converted a three-point play to make it an eight-point game again. And even though Troy kept pace the rest of the way, Greenville was 6 for 6 from the free throw line down the stretch to put the game away.
Reichelderfer led the Trojans with 19 points and eight rebounds. Kotwica equaled a season high with 17 points and added four assists, Kinnel scored a career-high 14 points and added three assists and McClurg added 13 points and five rebounds. Taylor finished with five points, four rebounds and three assists, and Larger and Palmer chipped in five points apiece.
Gable had seven rebounds to go with his game-high 31 points, Pandey scored 18 points and Rich added 16 points. Devin Hendrix had eight points and six rebounds, Will Comer had six points, Trae Wood had five points and Marcus Wood had two points.
The Trojans continue their three-game road trip Friday at Sidney and finish it Saturday at Miamisburg.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.