The 2013-14 Truman men's basketball season came to an abrupt halt on Sunday afternoon in the first round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, as the 5th-seeded Bulldogs were upset by Illinois Springfield, 78-72.
Senior Mike Carlson recorded an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double to lead the purple and white. The Bulldogs (20-7) found themselves in a tight battle with 12th-seeded UIS, with the two squads fighting to 13 tie scores and 14 lead changes throughout the afternoon in the first-round contest. After the Prairie Stars took a 40-34 lead into the intermission, Truman stormed out the break by scoring 14 of the first 21 points to take a 48-47 lead on one of Andrew Vander Zwaag's five three-pointers on the afternoon with 15:27 to play. Another Vander Zwaag three-ball would match Truman with its largest lead of the day ?? four ?? at 58-54 with 10:19 on the clock. Following a quick 30-second timeout, however, UIS would score six straight to go back on top, 60-58. A Seth Jackson layup knotted the score once again at 63 apiece with 6:47 to play, but that would be the final Bulldog field goal for nearly six minutes.
Truman's free throw shooting ?? a strong suit for the team all season long that culminated in the highest single-season percentage in school history ?? faltered in the final minutes, as two missed front ends on 1-and-1's during the 63-63 tie kept the game even. Truman's final lead of the game came on the second of a pair of free throws for Carlson with 3:37 to play, but a triple on the next possession by UIS put the visitors on top, 69-67.
The 'Dogs would cut the deficit to one, once more, but solid work at the stripe for the Prairie Stars would eventually ice the game at the 78-72 final score. Carlson and junior guard Reed Mells both played all 40 minutes for the Bulldogs, with the senior tallying his 13th career double-double.
The Wisconsin-native finished his career with 1,326 points ?? good for eighth on the program's career scoring chart ?? while his 575 points this season marked the second-most in Truman single-season history. Vander Zwaag added 17 points off the bench in 30 minutes, while Mells scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, and handed out five assists. Jackson closed his night with 10 points and a game-high three steals. As a team, Truman shot 44% from the floor and 11-of-30 from three-point range.
However, the squad went just 13-of-24 (54.2%) from the foul line, including an 11-of-21 second half performance. The Bulldogs turned the ball over just six times and dished out 19 assists on 24 made baskets. UIS shot 47% overall (10-of-22 3-point) and out-rebounded Truman 36-31. Regan Bruenger scored 25 points for the Prairie Stars to lead all scorers in the game. The Bulldogs close the 2013-14 season as just the sixth team in program history to have reached the 20-win mark and the first since 2005-06.
In addition, the 13 conference wins this season set a new program record. Truman graduates two seniors ?? Carlson and Marek Bush ?? and will return three starters for the 2014-15 campaign.
Courtesy Truman State University