Fischer and company throttle Illinois Springfield on senior day
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. - Exactly one year ago Monday, Cory Myers donned the Purple and White for the final time inside Pershing Arena before pouring in a career-high (at the time) 30 points against Missouri S&T. Fast forward to Saturday and Zach Fischer (pictured) took a page out of No. 12's book by making his final game inside the friendly confines an indelible one. Fischer finished with a career-high 30 points, 13 rebounds and the Truman State University men's basketball team made quick work of Illinois Springfield, 86-47.
With the win, Truman (18-9, 13-5 GLVC) improved to 13-5 in league play for the first time since 2013-14, its first season as a member of the GLVC, while Illinois Springfield's (14-14, 6-12) 2017-18 campaign comes to a close with five-straight losses. The Bulldogs accomplished that feat by holding the Prairie Stars to just 47 points, the fewest by a conference opponent in 11 years (45 vs. Washburn - Jan. 13, 2007).
Back to Fischer and what a night for No. 22. The 6-4 big man turned in his 17th career double-double, 16th of the season and had it wrapped up at halftime thanks to 21 points and 10 boards. He became the first Bulldog to pick up a double-double before the intermission since Andy Calmes did it 13 years ago vs. Missouri-Rolla on Feb. 7, 2005 with 12 points and 10 rebounds. All in all, Fischer went 10-of-15 from the field, 3-for-5 from deep and a perfect 7-of-7 at the free throw line to go with two assists and a block in just 26 minutes. The St. Louis native will have as strong a case as anyone for GLVC Player of the Week after he averaged 28 points and 13.5 boards per game while shooting an unheard of 71 percent (22-for-31) from the field.
After Fischer, Brodric Thomas did it all once again with 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and three steals in 32 minutes of action. Nathan Messer was the third and final Bulldog who scored in double-figures with 14 points, five boards and two assists. That effort for Messer snapped a 10-game stretch in which he didn't finish with more than 12 points. Prior to that span, No. 33 had reached 13 or more points in six of his previous seven outings. Connor Lusso also played his final game in Pershing as he finished with three points and four rebounds in 13 minutes.
In the team head-to-head, much like the score, there aren't many areas in which Truman didn't hold a severe advantage over Illinois Springfield. The Bulldogs had a considerable edge in rebounds (45-31), assists (18-7), blocks (5-0), field goal percentage (50.8-31.7), three-point field goal percentage (36.4-25.0), free throw percentage (77.8-55.6), points off turnovers (21-8), and fast-break points (12-5). The Prairie Stars' 31.7 field goal percentage is the worst by a Purple and White conference opponent since 2014 (Jan. 25 vs. William Jewell - 29.2 percent) and their 19 field goals are the fewest by the enemy in league play since 2015 (Jan. 17 vs. Maryville - 18).
Truman led wire to wire as it opened the game with runs of 8-2, 16-4 and 10-2 to take its biggest first-half lead of 17, 34-17, with just under six minutes to play in the period. From there until the break, both teams scored seven points and the Bulldogs went into the locker room with that same 17-point advantage, 41-24. After the midway point, Illinois Springfield put in back-to-back layups to cut the margin to 13, but never got closer than that. The home team pushed its advantage to as many as 39 when it was all said and done after a 14-1 spurt to finish it.
Next up for Truman is postseason play and the quarterfinal round of the GLVC Tournament on Friday inside the Vadalabene Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. At the time of this release, the Bulldogs' seeding wasn't immediately available, but stay tuned to TrumanBulldogs.com for updates.