Truman hosts Drury on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. - No one will ever get caught saying the Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule is a kind one. The Truman State University men's basketball team is in the midst of playing three games in five days and five of them in a 10-day span, four of which are away from Pershing Arena. This past Thursday and Saturday, the Bulldogs took care of Missouri S&T (96-73) and Rockhurst (107-95), respectively, but the road doesn't get any easier.
The Purple and White now get set to host Drury (11-2, 4-1 GLVC) on Martin Luther King Jr. Day inside the friendly confines. The Panthers were ranked fourth in the most-recent GLVC Point Rating System and have won six games in a row. During the six-game spurt, Drury is averaging 90.3 points per game and outscoring its opponents by 20.5 points per outing.
During Truman's season-long five-game winning streak, its doing quite a bit of scoring in its own right. In their last five contests, the Bulldogs are averaging 100.6 points per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field, 45 percent from behind the arc and 78.9 percent at the free throw line. Monday's showdown between two of the hottest teams in the league should have no shortage of scoring.
Drury is in year No. 14 under head coach, Steve Hesser. During his tenure in Springfield, Hesser has accumulated an overall record of 292-108 (.730 winning percentage) and a mark of 169-66 (.719) in GLVC play. Those 14 years have also included three league titles, seven NCAA Tournament appearances, two Elite Eight showings, and a Division II National Championship in 2013. The 2017-18 edition of the Panthers features a pair of scorers putting up at least 10 points per game in Isaac Johnson (13.2) and Andrew Ballock (11). Ballock is also the team's leader in assists with 3.5 per game and rebounds at 5.1 per contest.
Offense on Display
Two of the GLVC's top offenses will tangle when Truman hosts Drury on Monday night inside Pershing Arena. The Panthers boast the best scoring offense in the league and are the conference's only team averaging more than 90 points per game with 91.8 while the Bulldogs are third in the GLVC in scoring offense with 87.5 points per contest. Nationally, Drury is 11th in scoring offense and Truman comes in at 23rd. Both teams have combined to score 100 points in a game nine times so far this season.
Spread the Wealth
For anyone that has to scout Truman or Drury, good luck trying to stop all of the scoring threats that these two teams possess. The Bulldogs have seven players averaging at least five points per game and five in double-figures while the Panthers have an astounding 11 players putting up five points per outing and two averaging double-figures.
With two teams that are first and third in the GLVC in scoring offense, they have to make quite a few three-pointers, right? Correct. Truman is second in the league in triples made with 172 and Drury is right behind that mark in third with 170. The Panthers are on top of the conference in treys made per game with 13.1 while the Bulldogs are second in that category with 11.5. Not to mention the fact that Drury shoots the three very efficiently with a league-best .453 three-point field goal percentage. Truman is a few spots down for that department with a mark of .401.
Turner the Burner
Redshirt freshman, Turner Scott, has had a bit of an up-and-down season so far in 2017-18. Scott has been held scoreless three times, but also scored 18 vs. Iowa Wesleyan and 13 most recently at Rockhurst. Against the Hawks this past Saturday, the Des Moines, Iowa native finally looked comfortable and might be getting his feet under him. Scott scored eight points in the first 10 minutes and change and could have ended up with more if not for fouling out.
Truman faces a pair of daunting road tests coming up with Indianapolis (10-5, 4-3 GLVC) on Thursday and Southern Indiana (13-4, 4-1 GLVC) on Saturday. Those two teams were seventh and first in the GLVC's most-recent Point Rating System.