The men’s and women’s basketball teams lost their first exhibition games on the road Oct. 23 and 24, respectively.
The men fell to Illinois State University with a score of 68-74, and the women ended their exhibition against The University of Missouri with a score of 55-95.
The men were looking strong in the first half, ending the second quarter with a score of 39-26, but the Redbirds took over in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 48-29. Guard Brodric Thomas was Truman’s leading scorer with 21 points.
Thomas said he sees himself as needing to be a vocal leader on the team, helping the six freshmen adjust to college-level basketball.
“It’s a complete 180 from last year, just how organized and prepared every single guy on the team is,” Thomas said.
Head coach Jeff Horner said if he was to describe the team in one word, it would be “togetherness.”
Because of health issues, Horner said he hasn’t been around as much as he would like to be, but part of his philosophy has been to not sweat the small things and to play through adversity.
“If we can stay together and keep our chemistry, keep going and keep the confidence up, this team can do special things,” Horner said.
The women’s team took some time to get into the game against Mizzou and trailed 19-55 at the end of the first half, but they went into the second half outscoring the Tigers in the third quarter 18-15. The Tigers responded in the fourth quarter by besting the Bulldogs 24-18 and clenching the win. Guards Hannah Belanger and Sloane Totta were the Bulldogs’ leading scorers with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Interim head coach Theo Dean said while the team took some time to adjust to Mizzou’s size and athleticism, it had a lot of good looks at open shots and some attacks on the rim. Unfortunately, though, it took a while to make those shots.
“Even for them — Mizzou — for the first five or six minutes they could barely make anything either,” Dean said.
Dean also said the overall score did not completely illustrate how the team played. In the second half, Mizzou only outscored the Bulldogs by three points, which were scored in the last minutes of the game.
For its next scrimmage, the team will be focusing on guard defense, communication, getting the ball to the offense quicker and generally playing with a faster pace, Dean said, but he expects a successful season.
“I saw some really good pieces on Thursday at Mizzou and I saw some things I want to tweak, some things I want to change and even some lineups that I never thought would play together, so I think we have a really bright future for this year,” Dean said.
Both teams will be on the road again next week with the women facing the University of Illinois Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. and the men facing the University of Findlay Nov. 8 at 5 p.m.