XENIA — Keeping the game close into the third quarter, a long scoreless run doomed Xenia’s chances to get its first win.
The Bucs were held without a point for over six and a half minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters at home, which helped propel Troy to a 67-50 win on Tuesday.
Ayden Rose connected on a three-pointer to pull Xenia within four at the 3:43 mark of the third quarter, but Troy then went on a 19-0 run as the Bucs couldn’t buy a basket against a Trojans’ defense which clamped down around the rim.
“We didn’t finish around the basket,” Xenia head coach Mike Arlinghaus said. “They’re athletic, they contest stuff and they made it difficult. It’s a good basketball team we faced.”
After a strong start shooting from the floor in the opening 16 minutes, Xenia went 5-for-23 from two-point in the second half in addition to missing its first eight attempts at the free throw line.
Damien Weaver joined Rose as the Bucs’ scoring leaders with both scoring 13 points. Joey Dawson added 10.
Troy (3-0) never lost the lead, but Xenia got within one on four different occasions through the first three quarters of the game. Numerous missed free throws and turnovers never allowed the Bucs to get over the hump.
“We did everything right except coming away with points,” Arlinghaus said of those key possessions. “They came down and eventually scored after we got some stops. I’m still proud of the effort, it’s just a matter of us competing.”
Both teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter while Xenia (0-2) looked to make an effort to attack in the paint early.
After going down by 11 early in the second quarter, Xenia closed the half with a 14-4 run capped by a three made by Rose to cut its deficit to 34-33 at the break.
The Bucs shot well in the second quarter going 6 of 9 from the field and making all four of its shots from inside the arc before the trouble began in the second half.
“Even in the third quarter after giving up an easy one, even there I can’t remember the exchange but we made a run and kept it close before missing a shot and they hit the dagger of daggers with a long pass for a three,” Arlinghaus said.
Xenia returns to the court on Friday when it hosts Piqua. It will be Hall of Fame Night for the Bucs, and a ceremony will also be held to officially rename Xenia’s gymnasium after former longtime basketball coach Phil Anderson.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.