Truman offense too much for Lewis in First-Ever win over Flyers
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. - In the second half of Thursday's win over Missouri S&T, the Truman State University men's basketball team scored an absurd 64 points. The Bulldogs must have bottled that mojo up and used it again on Saturday vs. the Flyers, because the red-hot shooting didn't stop. Truman shot a blistering 62.7 percent from the field and nearly reached the century mark for a third game in a row en route to its first-ever victory over Lewis, 92-80 (0-5 prior).
Truman (8-5, 3-1 GLVC) has now won three in a row while Lewis (7-8, 2-3 GLVC) had its three-game winning streak snapped. For the Bulldogs, their 62.7 field goal percentage (32-of-51) is the highest against a GLVC opponent inside Pershing Arena in nearly four years (Missouri S&T - Jan. 30, 2014).The Purple and White shot a ridiculous 62.1 percent in the first half and still managed to bump that up (!!!) once the final buzzer sounded.
Individually, Jake Velky (pictured) led the way with a game-high 23 points and Nathan Messer (20 points) scored at least 20 for the second time in four games after not doing so once in his first nine outings of the season. Behind those two, three more scorers reached double-figures including Brodric Thomas (14), Zach Fischer (13) and Taurin Hughes (12). As Fischer was shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor, he picked up his ninth double-double of the year and 10th of his career. Velky paced the squad in assists with four, Thomas was the ringleader in blocks with two and four different Bulldogs had one block apiece. Hughes also converted all four of his looks, all of which were from three-point land.
In the team head-to-head, Truman out-rebounded Lewis by just four (32-28), but did so by 10 on the defensive glass, which didn't allow the Flyers to get nearly as many second-chance opportunities. The Bulldogs notched 20 assists to the Flyers' nine and reached 20+ in that department for a third-consecutive game. The Purple and White didn't register 20 or more dimes in any of the first 10 games. Truman was also extremely efficient from long range as it cashed in on 15 of its 25 looks from there (60 percent).
With 10:35 left to play in the first half, there had already been three ties and nine lead changes. Lewis' biggest advantage of the game came during that span at the 14:36 mark when it led by six, 13-7. Once it was tied, 21-21, the Bulldogs outscored the Flyers 27-11 through the rest of the period, led by 16 at 48-32 and had all the momentum heading into the locker room. After 20 minutes of play, the Purple and White already had a trio of scorers with at least 10 points in Messer (13), Velky (11) and Thomas (10).
Out of the break, the visitors used a 17-9 run to pull within eight of the home team, 57-49. Then, Jacob Socha splashed a clutch three at the 14:54 mark to get the margin back to 11, 60-49. Lewis kept the pressure on, though, as it rattled off six points in a row to slim the deficit to five, 60-55. After Velky made a jumper and a three-pointer to make it a 10-point game (65-55), the Flyers simply wouldn't go away and cut it to six, 65-59, with an even 10 minutes to go. The first of Hughes' four triples and two Fischer free throws gave the hosts an 11-point advantage, 70-59, but the away team had yet another answer.
At the 7:05 mark, Lewis' Cristen Wilson dunked one home and Truman's lead was seven, 73-66. Then came the turning point and biggest play of the night. Fischer took a pass from Hughes, came down the left side of the lane, slammed it with two hands, and was fouled in the process. The redshirt senior converted the free throw to get the margin back to double-digits and it was never smaller than 10 from that point on.
Next up, Truman goes to Missouri S&T on Thursday with the tip in Rolla set for 7:30 p.m.