Men’s basketball stumbles in quarterfinal

Redshirt junior guard Cory Myers guards Patrick Whelan, a William Jewell sophomore guard, in front of a student section in Pershing Arena.
The Truman State men’s basketball team ended its season with a 21-9 overall record after a loss in the GLVC quarterfinals to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

The Bulldogs traveled to St. Charles, Missouri, March 4 to compete in the GLVC tournament quarterfinal in hopes of continuing their season and avenging a loss during February to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers. But the ‘Dogs lost to the Rangers 77-62 in a game that remained close until the end.

Truman started the game with an early lead, but fell behind UW-Parkside during the first half and never regained the lead. The ‘Dogs kept the point deficit close until the Rangers pulled away late in the second half. Parkside also won the rebounding battle, bringing down 41 boards to Truman’s 27.

The game was atypical for the Bulldogs because the team made and attempted the lowest number of 3-point shots all season. Redshirt junior guard Dwight Sistrunk Jr. says the players were not hitting the long-range shots they usually take. Sistrunk says the larger arena affected the team’s shooting ability, and it was difficult to adjust to how the arena affected depth perception while shooting.

Many of the Bulldog’s points came from short-range instead — 3-pointers only accounted for nine of the team’s 62 points.

Junior forward Billy Daniel led the team in scoring and rebounding, with 20 points and eight rebounds. Redshirt junior forward Connor Erickson scored the second-most points on the team with 10 as he played only his second game since coming back from injury. The team’s graduating members, redshirt senior guard Andrew Vander Zwaag and senior guard Cole Myers, were the next leading scorers. Vander Zwaag scored nine, and Myers scored six.

Sistrunk says the Bulldogs hoped to take advantage of a few Rangers injuries, but were unable to. Sistrunk says the Bulldogs noticed Parkside sophomore guard Kendale McCullum in a walking boot before the game and thought Parkside would not be at full strength.

“You could tell [the injuries] kind of affected them at the beginning,” Sistrunk says. “They started out slow, so we tried to jump on them early, but I felt like we couldn’t really get as big of a lead as we wanted to.”

The game was the last for the 2015-16 Bulldogs, who finished the season with 21 wins, the fourth-highest in Truman’s history. The Bulldogs’ tournament appearance was also their third in a row, and second under Head Coach Chris Foster.

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