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Truman grinds out road victory over Rockhurst, 107-95

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Truman State University men's basketball team's offense couldn't possibly be any hotter right now. The Bulldogs defeated Rockhurst 107-95 on Saturday, have scored 100 points three times in a season for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign and have eclipsed 90 points in each victory during this five-game winning streak.

Truman (10-5, 5-1 GLVC) will now get set for a third game in five days on Monday against Drury inside Pershing arena while Rockhurst (8-8, 2-5 GLVC) has been on the short end in four-straight outings since an overall record of 8-4 before New Year's Eve.

Once again, the Bulldogs had no problem spreading the wealth as five scorers reached double-figures for the fifth-straight game and four of them scored 10 or more for the seventh contest in a row. During this five-game spurt, four different players are averaging at least 16 points and six are scoring at least eight per game.

Out in front of Saturday's quintet was Zach Fischer with 22 points, 11 rebounds and his 11th double-double of the year, which is the most for a Bulldog in a single season since Ethan Freeman racked up that many as a senior in 2010-11. For 2017-18, Fischer's double-double average is now at 17.9 points and 10.9 rebounds.

Next up was Nathan Messer (pictured), who has been as big a key as anyone to Truman's recent success. After 20 points at Rockhurst, Messer is averaging 16.4 points per game while shooting 60.9 percent (28-of-46) from the field, 59.3 percent (16-for-27) from deep and 90.9 percent (10-of-11) at the free throw line during the five-game winning streak. Prior to that stretch, the junior guard was putting up under 10 points per effort.

The final three Bulldogs that racked up at least 10 points on Saturday were Jake Velky (19), Turner Scott (13) and Brodric Thomas (11). Scott and Thomas both could have added to those numbers, but fouled out late in the second half. Jack Green led the way in assists with four and Taurin Hughes tallied three steals.

In the team head-to-head, Rockhurst battered Truman on the boards to the tune of 41-22, but the Bulldogs more than made up for it with another fireworks display from behind the arc. The Purple and White cashed in on 15 of their 28 three-point attempts and outscored Rockhurst 45-12 from long range as the Hawks were just 4-for-17 from deep.

With 14 assists, Truman was held below 20 for the first time since Dec. 17 vs. Missouri Southern, but turned the ball over only four times. That marks the fewest turnovers in a game for the Bulldogs since that many vs. Missouri Southern back on Jan. 27, 2007.

Through the first six minutes and change, it was a back-and-forth affair with four ties and two lead changes. At the 13:29 mark, Rockhurst had a one-point advantage at 14-13, but wouldn't lead again for the rest of the game. From there until the end of the first stanza, the Bulldogs outscored the Hawks by 17, 38-21, and used a 13-2 run to take all of the momentum. Heading into the locker room, the Purple and White were in complete control, 51-35, as Velky hit a three at the first-half buzzer.

Out of the intermission, the visitors took their biggest lead of the afternoon at 18, 53-35, thanks to a Fischer layup just 11 seconds in. The home team rattled off 14 of the next 19 points and slimmed the deficit to nine, 58-49. Truman continued to have an answer, though, before Rockhurst was within seven, 94-87, with 1:48 to play.

Then, much like the Lewis game a week prior, Fischer turned in arguably the most important play of the game. It started with Velky who, from the right wing, dribbled to the free throw line, threw a no-look, one-handed pass with his left hand to Fischer who was cutting from the right corner, flushed it with two hands and was fouled. The forward completed the old-fashioned three-point play and that slammed the door on the Hawks.

Next up, as mentioned above, Truman hosts Drury (11-2, 4-1 GLVC) on Monday in Pershing with the tip set for 7:30 p.m. The Panthers have won six in a row and scored 100 points in a game six times this season as the league's top offense.


Courtesy Truman State Athletics

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