Away from its home court, Grand Valley State was undefeated with six wins in six tries to begin this season. That is, until Tuesday night inside Pershing Arena. The Truman State University men's basketball team handed the Lakers their first road loss of 2018-19, 82-78, thanks in part to a all-out barrage from three-point land.
Truman is now above the .500 mark for the first time this year at 6-5, has won four straight inside the friendly confines and five of those six total wins have come by four points or less. The Bulldogs earned their first-ever win over Grand Valley State and chalked up a critical regional victory to get above water within the Midwest Region at 3-2. On the other side, the Lakers fell to 9-3 overall, 6-2 in nonconference affairs and half of those out-of-league games came against GLVC teams (2-2 record).
As mentioned above, Truman flexed its muscles from behind the arc with a red-hot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) clip from there and eight of the nine Bulldogs that took the court splashed one in from deep including five with multiple makes. What made those 45 points so vital was the fact that Grand Valley State made just four three-pointers in 11 tries (36.4 percent) for 12 points including just one make in the second half. For the Purple and White, that effort marks the fifth time in which they've made at least 40 percent of their treys this winter and third with at least 48 percent going in.
Truman assisted on 15 of its 27 field goals compared to just eight dimes on 29 field goals for Grand Valley State. Those 15 assists are the third-most by the Bulldogs this season, all three of which have come at home. The Purple and White also turned the ball of just nine times, which is tied for their lowest output of the season matching the final tally at Northern State.
Individually, Truman finished with four players scoring in double-figures including Cade McKnight (17), Nathan Messer (pictured/17), Brodric Thomas (13), and Turner Scott (11). Thomas stuffed the stat sheet once again as he finished one rebound shy of his seventh career double-double (including SWCC) to go with four assists and one block. Scott broke a two-game streak in which he failed to score at least 10 points, dished out a game-high six assists, registered both of the team's two steals, and turned the ball over only once. This year, Scott has given the ball away once or not at all in six of the last seven games and twice or less in eight of the 11 games despite playing nearly 32 minutes per outing.
The first half was a back-and-forth one as it featured three of the game's four ties and 11 of its 13 lead changes. Neither team was able to create any real separation until Thomas and Mark Rogers cashed in back-to-back triples to put Truman up by seven, 20-13, at the 12:48 mark. Those two buckets sparked a 12-2 run by the good guys that made it a nine-point game, 24-15, with just over 10 minutes to play in the half. Grand Valley State fought back, though, and took its final lead of the first half, 35-34, just outside the two-minute warning. After each team converted a two, they headed into the locker room deadlocked at 37-37.
Out of the intermission, despite the game's fourth tie at 40-40 and the visitor's largest lead of three, 43-40, the home team appeared to deliver a knockout blow with 10 of the next 12 points to take its biggest lead of the day at 11, 66-55. Grand Valley State then clawed all the way back to within one, 78-77, with a 19-10 spurt, but there were just four seconds remaining and the Bulldogs converted four free throws to the Lakers' one waning moments.
Next up, Truman will go home for Christmas and wait 11 days to play the defending NAIA National Champions, Graceland, on Dec. 29 inside Pershing with the tip set for 3 p.m.
Courtesy Truman State University