The Truman State University men’s basketball team beat Missouri Southern State University, the No. 7 Div. II team in the nation, at its season’s home opener Nov. 21.
This is the second time Truman has beat a nationally ranked team this season. On Nov. 8, the Bulldogs beat the University of Findlay, which was ranked 17th coming into the season.
The game against MSSU started with Truman leading 12-9 until the Lions tied it up. Truman continued to lag behind the Lions from there, falling short five points at halftime. There were just under 11 minutes left in the second half when the Bulldogs eventually pulled ahead of MSSU with 46-47 after guard Luke TerHark’s layup. The Lions fired back with multiple three pointers and pushed ahead with five minutes left in the game. Truman answered with a layup, but MSSU tied the game again at 68 with 1:26 left. Both teams missed baskets just before guard Brodric Thomas made the game winning shot 30 feet from the basket with 2.7 seconds left on the clock.
On Friday, Truman came out on top against Newman University by six points at 78-72. Thomas scored a total of 32 points, his highest point total so far this season. The Newman Jets started the half ahead of Truman at 8-4, until Thomas tied the game with six consecutive points. With 13:07 left, the Bulldogs got their first lead of the game and finished the half 12 points ahead of the Jets with 38 points.
At the start of the second half, Newman closed in on Truman’s lead at 47-43. Soon the Bulldogs were ahead by one basket, but Thomas and guard Turner Scott pushed Truman’s lead up to nine points. Newman tried to fight back but continued to fall behind. With 1:09 on the clock, Newman knocked down Truman’s lead to five points. The Bulldogs were able to maintain their lead until the final buzzer.
The next day, the Bulldogs secured their third straight win with a close score of 62-60 against Washburn University. Truman started the game off well with a lead, but at 14:38, Washburn pulled ahead. The Bulldogs finished eight points behind Washburn at the half. During the second half, Washburn continued to lead, but Truman came back with 3:15 left in the game. Truman and Washburn continued to battle back and forth for the lead for the rest of the game. Finally, Scott captured the win for the Bulldogs with a trip to the free throw line, where he went 2-2.
Newman and Washburn play two different styles of basketball on the court, assistant coach Austin McBeth said.
McBeth said he thinks Newman plays defense more aggressively and tries to create one-on-one mismatches on the offense, while Washburn plays more methodically.
“Washburn was much more disciplined. They ran a ton of sets, they were very specific in a lot of the things that they did and they were intentional,” McBeth said.
On Thursday night, the Bulldogs beat rival Quincy University 69-59 at Pershing Arena. This is the team’s fourth win in a row since they beat MSSU two weeks ago.
After Quincy, the team will not play Northwest Missouri State University, the No.1 Div. II team in the country, until Dec. 20. McBeth said he’s not sure what the team will be working on over this almost month long break, but he thinks they’ll probably watch a lot of tapes of past games and look at what the team does right as well as what needs to be worked on. The Bulldogs are going to tweak some things and set themselves in a better position to score more points during this time off, McBeth said.