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By ROB JONAS

 

COLONIE – Troy isn't through in the race for the Suburban Council Blue Division title.

 

Nazaire Merritt and Latyce Faison each scored 18 points to lead the Flying Horses to a 53-48 victory over Christian Brothers Academy Friday, February 9.

 

The win moved Troy (12-4 league, 12-7 overall) within one game of CBA (13-3, 16-3) for first place in the Blue Division with one game left in the regular season. The Flying Horses own the tiebreaker, having swept the Brothers in their two league meetings this season.

 

“We've been playing nailbiters all year,” said Troy coach Greg Davis. “We just keep it close and try to pull it out in the end.”

 

Merritt and Faison came alive in the second half to rally Troy from a six-point halftime deficit. The two junior guards each poured in 14 points to turn the tide.

 

“I had a talk with Latyce at halftime and told him it was time to go,” said Merritt, who scored a team-high 19 points in Troy's 70-64 victory over CBA in their first meeting on December 12. “Big shout out to Latyce.”

 

“He's just had an unbelievable year for us,” Davis said of Merritt, who leads Troy with a 16 points-per-game average. “He's had to play behind some talented guards, but this has been his time to shine.”

 

Faison didn't start the game for Troy, but once he got going, Davis wasn't about to take him out.

 

“We're basically under the impression that whatever is going to work that night, that's what we're going to do,” said Davis.

 

 

The Brothers kept the pace to their liking in the first half as they built a 23-17 lead, but the Flying Horses pushed the tempo at the start of the third quarter and used it to go on a 13-4 run that put them in front for the first time. The lead changed hands several times before Faison drained a three-pointer that gave Troy a 38-35 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

 

“I think they stepped up their defense (in the second half),” said CBA coach Dave Doemel. “We needed to pass the ball a little bit better. We made a couple of bad passes there, and they took advantage of it.”

 

Troy pushed the lead to 42-36 early in the fourth quarter before a basket by Andrew Signor and a three-pointer by Pryce Wasula brought CBA back within one point. A long jump shot from Faison and a driving layup by Lateef Johnson gave the Flying Horses some breathing room, and key free throws in the final 17 seconds from Merritt sealed the victory.

 

“They're not a good team to play catch-up against,” said Doemel. “Merritt is a great player.”

 

Jordan King poured in 20 points for CBA, while Signor and Peter O'Toole each added nine points. Twelve of King's 20 points came in the first half.

 

Troy concludes the regular season Tuesday, February 13, against Schenectady, while CBA battles Albany.

 

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