The Truman men's basketball team earned its 20th win of the 2013-14 campaign on Thursday night, capping the regular season with an 89-85 home victory against Quincy (Ill.). Senior Mike Carlson erupted for 40 points, while Seth Jackson added 20 points, and Reed Mells chipped in 16.
The Bulldogs (20-6, 13-5) set a program record with their 13th conference victory and became only the sixth installment in program history to reach the 20-win mark in a single season. The last Truman team to do so was the 2005-06 squad that reached the NCAA Div. II tournament.
Truman will host a Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament first-round game on Sunday, March 2, as the Bulldogs earned the No. 5 seed in the 12-team tournament. Sunday's opponent will be the No. 12 seed Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars, who reached the tournament on the regular season's final night with a 78-61 home win against McKendree. The Bulldogs and Prairie Stars will not have met in nearly two full months by the time of Sunday's tipoff, with Truman winning the only meeting this season 76-70 in Pershing Arena on January 9.
On Thursday night, long-time rivals played to a fierce battle in the final regular season contest of the season, as the Hawks (10-18, 5-13 GLVC) held the upper hand through the first 20 minutes to carry a 39-34 lead into the intermission.
However, the Bulldogs wasted no time drawing even in the second half, scoring nine of the first 11 points to take a 43-41 lead with 17:53 to play in the game.
After playing to 47-all, Carlson hit one of his game-high six triples to give Truman a 50-47 lead, which they would expand to as many as 11 with 8:05 left on the clock.
The Hawks, playing with their season on the line, would make things interesting late, as Ja'mil Jones hit a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left to pull QU to within one at 86-85, but Mells would hit a pair of free throws in front of a QU missed layup that sent Andrew Vander Zwaag to the line where he would hit one of two to ice the game.
Carlson reached the 40-point mark for the second time this season, connecting on 12-of-18 field goals, including 6-of-8 three-pointers. He drilled 10-of-11 free throw tries, while also grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. In two games against the Hawks this season, Carlson averaged 38.5 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Jackson, meanwhile, added 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while Mells hit 7-of-12 shots to finish with 16 points in 35 minutes. Jackson's four assists served as a team-high, while Patrick Burmester registered a game-high two blocks to go alongside five points and five rebounds.
Quincy was led by Evan McGaughey's 23 points and seven rebounds, while Chris Babbitt added 14 points.
Courtesy Truman State University