Troy beats S. Alabama 69-62, heads to Sun Belt quarters

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jordon Varnado scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Alex Hicks added 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Troy rallied to beat South Alabama 69-62 in Wednesday’s opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Wesley Person scored 13 points for the seventh-seeded Trojans (16-16), who advance to face No. 2 seed Georgia State in a Friday quarterfinal.

Trailing 35-29 at halftime, Varnado’s 3 put the Trojans up 41-39 and his jumper sparked a 10-2 run for a 56-47 lead with 10:21 left. Rodrick Sikes’ layup capped a 9-2 run and the Jaguars closed to 68-62 with 10 seconds left, but got no closer. Person made 1 of 2 free throws and Herb McGee’s 3-pointer missed with four seconds left.

Troy hit six 3s and shot 37.5 percent from the field in beating the Jaguars for the third time this season.

Sikes scored 18 points with seven boards and Josh Ajayi added 17 points for No. 10 seed South Alabama (14-18).

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