Looking to snap a five-game losing streak on Thursday night against Illinois Springfield, the Truman State University men's basketball team knew what was on the line and played like it. The Bulldogs scored 11 of the game's first 13 points as well as 23 of its initial 31 and never looked back. At one point, the Purple and White led by as many as 35, 75-40, and simply ran the Prairie Stars out of the gym with a final score of 77-52.
Truman (9-10, 4-5 GLVC) jumped right back into the win column and that means six of its nine victories have come inside the friendly confines of Pershing Arena. On the other side, Illinois Springfield (12-6, 5-3 GLVC) came up short for the first time since Jan. 10 (three-game winning streak) and suffered its worst loss since a 39-point beatdown for the Bulldogs' 2017-18 Senior Day back on Feb. 24. Truman now leads the all-time series with Illinois Springfield by five, 6-1.
Brodric Thomas led all scorers with 24 points in just 24 minutes on 11-of-15 shooting and has scored at least 20 in eight of his 13 games this season. In his last three games alone, Thomas has poured in 81 points or an even 27 per game while shooting 57.7 percent (30-of-52) from the field. The redshirt junior continues to hold on to the fifth-best scoring average in the GLVC at 19.3 points per game and comes in at ninth for field goal percentage at 49.4. Seventeen of the guard's 24 points came in the first half when he was eight of his first 10 from the floor.
Also scoring in double-figures for Truman were Nathan Messer with 12 and Turner Scott (pictured) with 10, each of which hit a pair of three-pointers on three attempts. Scott broke a couple of streaks as he dished out at least five assists for the first time since Dec. 18 (seven games ago) and scored at least 10 points for the first time since Jan. 3 (five games ago). That Lewis game back on Jan. 3 was also the last time the point guard made at least four field goals as he went 4-for-6 on Thursday.
In the team statistics, the Bulldogs racked up 19 assists, tied for their most against a Division II opponent this season (Cedarville), on 31 field goals. Truman shot 57.4 percent (31-of-54) from the field and 52.4 percent (11-for-21) from three while Illinois Springfield managed to hit just 33.3 percent (20-of-60) and 11.5 percent (3-for-26) in those two categories, respectively. No opponent has shot that badly from behind the arc since Dec. 31, 2016 when it was Central Christian. Illinois Springfield converted on 22.6 percent (7-of-31) in the first 20 minutes, the lowest mark by an opponent since that Central Christian game. In comparison, Truman made 71.4 percent (20-of-28) of its first-half field goals, the best output in over four years.
As mentioned above, the home team stormed out to leads of 11-2, 23-8 and 47-18 with just under half a minute to play in the first half. Truman went into the locker room up 27, 47-20, and its lead shrunk to as little as 25 when the score had gone final. Head coach, Jeff Horner, was able to empty his bench and 11 different Bulldogs found the scoring column.
Next up, Truman's former head coach, Chris Foster, and McKendree will be in Pershing on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip. That matchup will also mark former Bulldog standout, Seth Jackson's, first game back since his playing days. Jackson is Foster's top assistant for the Bearcats.
Courtesy Truman State University