NEW ORLEANS ----- Sophomore Justin Trotter scored a career-high 21 points, but the Auburn Montgomery men's basketball team could not overcome an ice-cold shooting performance in the first half, as the Warhawks fell to conference foe Loyola 67-60 Thursday.
In the opening period, the Warhawks (9-10, 7-5 SSAC) converted just 5-of-31 shots in the first half, a shooting percentage of only 16.1 percent. From behind the arc, AUM hit just 1-of-11 shots and missed its first nine attempts. Loyola (13-9, 7-5 SSAC) opened the game with the first 11 points in the wire-to-wire victory.
At the half, the Warhawks trailed 29-14 and by as many as 20 in the period. AUM went scoreless for nearly nine minutes late in the half.
In the second half, the Warhawks chipped away at the deficit, cutting the margin to just 10 points, 41-31, on a jumper by junior Reshad Bickham with 12 minutes to play. After the Wolf Pack extended their lead back to 16 points, AUM cut the margin to single digits, 58-50, on a three-point play by junior LaRel Jackson with 4:19 remaining. However, the Warhawks could only trim the deficit to seven points before falling by the same margin.
Trotter scored 18 of his game-high total in the second half and helped AUM outscore the Wolf Pack 46-38 in the second half. The Mt. Vernon, Ala., native knocked down 5-of-10 3-point attempts in the game, while adding a career-best six rebounds. Bickham finished with 14 points and matched a game-best with eight rebounds. Jackson chipped in 10 points, while freshman Tristen Harrell scored five points and pulled down eight boards.
For the game, the Warhawks finished 21-of-69 from the field, good for 30.4 percent. The Wolf Pack shot 51 percent from the floor. AUM stayed in the game thanks to 20 offensive rebounds and a 47-39 advantage in total rebounds. Despite the significant lead on the offensive boards, the Warhawks were outscored 40-24 in the paint. Each team committed 14 turnovers.
Robert Lovaglio led four Loyola players in double figures with 15 points, while also adding six rebounds and five assists.
AUM will return to action on Thursday, Feb. 7, when it travels to local rival Faulkner for a 7:30 p.m. contest.