Bulldogs Topped by Bearcats, 76-73

BOLIVAR, Mo. - - A furious second-half rally came up just short for the Truman menâ??s basketball team on the road, as the Southwest Baptist Bearcats protected its home court with a 76-73 victory on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (7-12. 4-7 MIAA) led 23-18 at the 9:51 mark of the first half following a pair of free throws by Mike Carlson but the Bearcats (7-12, 5-6 MIAA) clamped down defensively from there, rattling off a 13-5 run before an Isaac Gardner triple evened the score at 31-all with 6:08 to go in the half.

That, however, would be the final basket of the first 20 minutes for the â??Dogs, as the â??Cats scored a dozen straight until Cole Myers hit a free throw at the 2:18 mark to stop the run.

SBU would then carry a 44-32 lead into the intermission.

It was a disjointed first half, as the teams combined for 29 fouls, resulting in 11 different players between the teams carrying multiple fouls into the second half.

The squads played fairly evenly in the opening minutes of the second half before the Bulldogs got to within eight on a Tom Norton three-pointer with 11:26 to play in the game.

After SBU led 68-55 with eight and a half minutes to go, the Bulldogs went to work â?? putting together a 14-0 run that started with a pair of Marek Bush free throws and was capped with another Norton triple to put Truman ahead 69-68 with 3:04 to play.

A pair of Damion Hooks free throws stopped the run with 2:44 to play but a quick basket by Carlson put Truman back on top by one, 71-70, with 2:30 to go.

After another defensive stop by the â??Dogs, Seth Jackson pushed the lead to three at 73-70 before SBUâ??s Gilbert Gyamfi tied the game with a three-pointer to snap a nearly seven-minute field goal drought by the home team.

Carlson saw a lay-up fall off with 52 seconds to play, and, following a pair of split free throws by SBU, Norton couldnâ??t find the range with 8.7 on the clock, forcing another Bulldog foul.

SBU missed both, but Cory Myers turned it over at midcourt with 1.3 to play, sending the Bearcats back to the line.

Two free throws later, the Bulldogs couldnâ??t get a final shot off and came up on the short side of a 76-73 decision.

Four Bulldogs finished in double-figures, led by Jacksonâ??s 17 in his first appearance off the bench this season.

Carlson added a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Gardner (15) and Norton (13) connected for a combined eight three-pointers.

Bush added 33 minutes off the bench, scoring eight points and tied a career-high with 11 rebounds.

Truman shot 42% for the game and went 9-of-21 (42.9%) from three-point range.

The teams combined for 54 fouls, with each squad getting 27 free throw attempts.

Truman converted 20 to out-score the Bearcats by two from the stripe and out-rebounded SBU 36-33 overall.

The Bulldogs did turn the ball over a season-high 22 times, leading to 30 SBU points.

Rashad Brown-Peterson led all players with 24 points for SBU, with Hooks adding 18 points and nine rebounds.

The two squads will meet again in 12 days, facing off in Kirksville on Thursday, Feb. 14.

That contest will be the first at home following a three-game road trip for the â??Dogs, which continues next Thursday (Feb. 7) at Pittsburg (Kan.) State.

Tipoff from John Lance Arena is set for 7:30 pm.

Courtesy: Truman State Athletics