Truman State men's basketball to face Lewis Friday at high noon
Postseason play is here for the Truman State University men's basketball team and it starts with the GLVC Tournament. This season, the event is inside the Vadalabene Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The Bulldogs are playing as the two seed, their highest seed ever in a conference tournament, and are taking on seventh-seeded Lewis in the quarterfinals.
The Purple and White finished up the regular season by winning six of their last seven games and that only loss was against then-No. 7 Bellarmine inside Pershing Arena. That stretch was capped off by a pair of wins over William Jewell (90-85) and Illinois Springfield (86-47) in which Zach Fischer went off and picked up his third GLVC Player of the Week honor. Fischer was the league's only player to do it three times this season.
For the moment, CoSIDA Academic All-District first teamer, Fischer, is back to averaging a double-double with 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. His 16 double-doubles are the most by a Bulldog in a single season since David Winslow racked up 17 in 1980-81. Next up on the squad in scoring are Brodric Thomas (16.5), Jake Velky (16.4) and Nathan Messer (10.2).
When Lewis fell to Truman, 92-80, back on Jan. 6 inside Pershing Arena, that defeat started a three-game losing streak for the Flyers, their longest skid of the season. Since then, Lewis has gone 8-3, 4-0 to finish the regular season and picked up wins over conference powers Drury (72-53) and Southern Indiana (73-52) in the process. The Flyers are led by a trio of scorers averaging double-figures including Cristen Wilson (16.9), Delaney Blaylock (15.8) and Adam Pischke (11.2). Wilson is also the team's leading rebounder with 8.9 per contest while Pischke runs the show with 3.5 assists per game, which is 11th in the GLVC.
First-Team All-GLVC performer, Cristen Wilson, is the heart and soul for Lewis. Wilson is fifth in the league in rebounds per game (8.9) and eighth in points per contest (16.9). The 6-5 forward is also 10th in the conference in field goal percentage (54.5) and 18th in free throw percentage (74.4). When Truman and Lewis met during the regular season, Wilson finished with a double-double thanks to 16 points and 11 rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting in 37 minutes on the court. That double-double is one of nine for the senior this season.
For the first time in 62 years and just the third time in school history, Truman men's basketball can say it has three first-team all-conference honorees. Redshirt senior, Zach Fischer, redshirt sophomore, Brodric Thomas, and junior, Jake Velky, all garnered nods on the 10-member first team as announced by the GLVC on Tuesday. Thomas also found a spot on the All-Defensive Team, Fischer was the Bulldogs' James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award Nominee and Truman received the James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Team Award. The GLVC has given first-team recognition to three players from the same school just twice in its 40-year history and Southern Indiana was the last to do it in the 1993-94 season.
History in the Making
As mentioned on the first page, Truman is the two seed for the GLVC Tournament, the highest seed for a conference tournament in program history. The Bulldogs also tied the school record for conference wins in a single season with 13 (2013-14) and are competing in the league tournament for the sixth-straight season, a program record. All of this comes after the Purple and White graduated one of the most successful senior classes in school history a season ago.
In the NCAA's most recent regional rankings that were released on Wednesday, Truman made an appearance at No. 10 and was one of five GLVC schools in the top 10. The other four were Bellarmine at No. 3, Drury at No. 6, Southern Indiana at No. 7, and Indianapolis at No. 8. If the Bulldogs can win Friday's matchup with Lewis, they'll face either the Panthers or Screaming Eagles in Saturday's semifinal showdown.
Courtesy Truman State University