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Truman State mens basketball to host Iowa Wesleyan Saturday

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After 13 days without a game, the Truman State University men's basketball team will play its final non-conference contest of the season and close out 2017 against Division III Iowa Wesleyan University

. After the Bulldogs and Tigers play the day before New Year's Eve, the rest of the Purple and White's regular season will consist of 16 Great Lakes Valley Conference affairs.

After a 3-0 start to the season, it's been an up-and-down stretch for Truman as it sits at 5-5 nearing the end of December

. Following those three victories to open their 2017-18 campaign, the Bulldogs dropped four in a row, but have won two of their last three to get back to the .500 mark.

The Purple and White continue to be led by the team's lone senior, Zach Fischer. Fischer continues to average a double-double with 18.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

The forward's seven double-doubles are the most in a single season by a Truman player since Ethan Freeman racked up 11 as a senior in 2010-11.

Behind No. 22, three more players are averaging at least 10 points per game for Truman including Jake Velky (15.5), Brodric Thomas (14.8) and Jack Green (12.3). Nathan Messer (9.7) and Taurin Hughes (9.3) follow that quartet.

Scouting Iowa Wesleyan

Three scorers are averaging double-figures in scoring for Iowa Wesleyan including Brock Butler (24.3), Mitchell Drey (13) and Elijah Johnson (12.8). Drey is the team's leading rebounder with 5.4 boards per contest,

Butler is second in that category at 5.3 per game and Jarryd Fernandes comes in at third on the team with 4.7 per outing. With that being said, none of those four lead the team in assists and that distinction is made for No. 11, Austin Banks with 25. Right behind him is Butler with 23 dimes on the season.

Best of the Best

Among the best players in all of Division II, Zach Fischer is seventh in double-doubles (7), 11th in field goal percentage (.676), 14th in total rebounds per game (11.1), 17th in defensive rebounds per game (7.8), 31st in total rebounds (111), and 49th in offensive rebounds per game (3.3). When it comes to the GLVC's statistical rankings, Fischer is first in rebounding, second in field goal percentage and sixth in scoring.

Block Party

On Dec. 7 at McKendree, Truman's nine blocks were tied for the second-most in program history (11 vs. Missouri S&T on Feb. 9, 1994) and were the most since nine vs. Missouri Southern on Jan. 14, 1995. That defensive effort was a bit of a sign of things to come for the Bulldogs who are fifth in blocks per game (3.0) and tied for fifth in the league in total blocks (30). Individually, Fischer is the leader for the Purple and White as he is eighth in stuffs per game (1.0) and tied for ninth in total blocks (10).

Back in Action

For the third time this season, Truman will have waited at least a week between games. The first two instances came between No. 1 Northwest Missouri State on Nov. 18 and Licoln on Nov. 28 followed by McKendree on Dec. 7 and Ohio Valley on Dec. 16. From here until the end of the regular season, the Bulldogs will have a break of more than five days only once when they take on Maryville on Jan. 25 followed by Drury on Feb. 1.

#33 of Old

Last year in his first season as a Bulldog, Nathan Messer was averaging 14.4 points per game after 10 outings and had already gone for at least 20 in a game twice. Fast forward to the 2017-18 campaign, Messer is putting up just 9.7 points per game and has scored 15 or more just once through the team's first nine contests. However, brighter days might be ahead as the sharp shooter poured in 21 points in the team's last game vs. Missouri Southern. That day, No. 33 was 8-of-14 from the field including 4-for-7 from behind the arc.

The Green Machine

Jack Green has provided quite the spark for Truman this season. Green has scored at least 10 points in a game in seven of the team's 10 contests including 15+ three times and a career high 25 on Dec. 16 vs. Ohio Valley. Against the Fighting Scots, No. 20 was an efficient 9-of-14 from the floor and made two of his three looks from three-point land.

Next Up

Next up for Truman, as mentioned above, the Bulldogs will resume GLVC action when the calendar flips over to 2018 and January. The Purple and White will host Missouri S&T on Jan. 4 and Lewis on Jan. 6 as the first of 16 consecutive league affairs to round out the 2017-18 regular season.

Courtesy Truman State University

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