Kevin White, Director of Athletic Communications
KIRKSVILLE – Just under 15 minutes into Saturday’s meeting with Graceland, the Truman State University men’s basketball team trailed by three, 23-20, and had converted on just 31.3 percent (5-of-16) of its looks from the field. The Bulldogs then flipped a switch to embark on a 24-4 run that carried over into the second half and gave them a 17-point advantage, 44-27. The Yellowjackets could never quite recover and the Purple and White made it five in a row at home with the 83-65 final.
Truman (7-5) will head into the New Year and back into GLVC play with wins in seven of its last eight games. The Bulldogs now lead the all-time series with Graceland by four, 6-2, after the teams’ first meeting in over 20 years. On the other side, the Yellowjackets’ record stays put at 7-5 as they’ll continue Heart of America Athletic Conference action on Jan. 2 against Grand View.
Brodric Thomas (27 points) and Taurin Hughes (22 points) combined for nearly 60 percent of Truman’s points and 18 of the Bulldogs’ 29 field goals. Thomas and Hughes both racked up a plus/minus of +23 and Nathan Messer was the only other player with one of at least 15 at +22. Cade McKnight was the third and final Bulldog in double-figures with 11 points and a team-leading seven rebounds. All 15 players that suited up for the Purple and White checked into the game including the first-ever appearance for Jake Messer while Collin Hill, Caleb Socha and T.J. Schilling each made their third career appearance.
At the 6:49 mark of the first half, Graceland had led by as many as seven on two different occasions including 21-14 and 23-16. Up until that point, Truman had enjoyed just two leads (6-5 and 9-8), but the third one didn’t come until there were just under three minutes left until halftime and it was 26-23 in favor of the good guys. That advantage for the Purple and White came after a 10-0 run and the switch had been flipped. In the second half, Truman pushed its lead to as many as 22, 83-61, and was able to empty the bench late.
As mentioned above, Truman will continue league play with a four-game road trip that starts at Lewis on Thursday, Jan. 3 with tip set for 7:30 p.m.