Winners of four straight, the Truman men's basketball team carries its show to Kansas City this Thursday and Saturday, when the Bulldogs are scheduled to face Rockhurst and William Jewell in a pair of west division matchups. Truman (12-3, 5-2 GLVC) is off to a blazing start in its first season of Great Lakes Valley Conference action â?? having won four straight and five of seven league matches to sit all alone in second-place in the GLVC west division.
The conference's halfway point will hit this Saturday night, after the Bulldogs close out a three-game road swing with two contests this weekend. The Bulldogs will first face Rockhurst at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 23) night before capping the trip with a 3 p.m. showdown at William Jewell on Saturday (Jan. 25).
Both opponents will be looking to right the ship after suffering a sweep at Missouri S&T and nationally-ranked Drury last weekend. Truman, meanwhile, is looking to keep the train rolling after moving its divisional record to 3-0 with a 83-66 home win against Missouri-St. Louis last Thursday (Jan. 16) and a 63-61 road win at Maryville on Saturday (Jan. 18).
The purple and white were forced to win in two completely different fashions against the Tritons and Saints â?? scoring 52 first-half points against UMSL before limiting MU for much of the game offensively to close the week. Truman head coach Matt Woodley is in his third season at the helm of the Bulldog program, having posted a 30-40 record during his time in Kirksville.
The team's 12 wins this season has already surpassed win totals from each of Woodley's first two years at the helm.
Rockhurst checks into Thursday night's game after coming off a four-game road trip that resulted in a 1-3 record.
So far in 2014, the Hawks are 1-5, with home losses to Southern Indiana and Bellarmine. Overall on the year, RU is shooting 42% from the floor and averaging 78.4 points per game while allowing opponents to connect at a 47.5% clip and 81.7 points per game.
The Hawks do rank in the GLVC top-3 in free throw percentage (77.8%), three-pointers per game (8.7) and turnover margin (+2.7).
The squad however ranks 15 th in rebounding margin and field goal percentage. Brandon McCann is the team leader in scoring at 17.4 ppg â?? fueled by a team-best 39 three-pointers.
Russell Burns is next in line overall at 10.1 ppg while also grabbing a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game.
Bill O'Connor is in his 20 th season at the RU helm and has a record of 263-286 at the school.
The Bulldogs have a four-game conference winning streak for the first time since 2006, when that season's squad put together a five-game stretch.
With a win Thursday, this year's squad would tie for the ninth-longest conference win streak in school history (five straight), with a pair of wins this weekend matching the third-longest league win streak (six straight). The longest conference winning streak ran 14 games from 1947-1949, with the second-longest stretch spanning nine games from Feb. 1, 1999 through Jan. 3, 2000.
Senior forward Mike Carlson became Truman basketball's first GLVC player of the week in program history on Monday, as the Superior, Wis.-native averaged 27.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, all while shooting 64% from the floor and 89% from the foul line in two wins last week. Carlson opened the week by notching his fourth 30+ point game of the season with a 34-point, 11-rebound double-double against UMSL.
Then, on Saturday, the previously all-MIAA third-teamer came just shy of his second double-double of the week by scoring 21 points and adding nine rebounds. On the season, he is the number two scorer in the GLVC in league-only games at 22.3 per contest while also ranking sixth in rebounding at 7.3 per game.
No player in the GLVC has more 30-point performances than Carlson this season. He also moved up four spots to No. 22 on Truman's career scoring chart last week, now sitting with 1,057 for his career.
Courtesy Truman State University