Truman’s basketball teams won conference games against Missouri-St. Lewis

By Adam Tumino

The Truman State men’s and women’s basketball teams continued conference play over the weekend with tough road games against Missouri-St. Lewis. Both Truman teams, after home losses to Indianapolis, ended up falling to the Tritons as well. The men lost 87-61 to the second-place Tritons, while the women lost 61-60, falling just short of their first conference win of the season.

Women’s basketball

The Bulldogs fell to 0-6 in conference play with the loss to Missouri-St. Louis on Saturday. The 61-60 loss was the closest they’ve come to that elusive first win since an 88-86 overtime loss at Upper Iowa on Dec. 2. Four of their six conference losses have come by five points or less.

The game was close wire-to-wire except for the opening minutes of the second quarter where the Tritons led by seven or until midway through the third quarter when Truman took a nine-point lead, the largest for either team in the game.

The lead was then extended to nine for Truman, Missouri-St. Lewis went on a quick 8-0 run to cut the deficit to one point. The Tritons regained the lead at 50-48 four minutes into the fourth quarter before Truman briefly put it back. Missouri-St. Lewis led again at 52-51. The score would later be tied at 57-57 with 50 seconds left, but Truman never led again.

The Bulldogs trailed 60-57 with just 1.3 seconds left when Claire Rake was fouled on a three-point attempt. Rake went 1-of-3 from the line, and after the Tritons went 1-of-2 on the other end, very little time remained for the Bulldogs. A layup at the buzzer by Ellie Weltha cut the deficit to one point as time expired.

The Bulldogs were able to bounce back a bit from their poor shooting against Indianapolis, shooting 40.9 percent from the field against the Tritons. However, they struggled from three as a team, making just four of their 20 attempts from deep.

Welta recorded a double-double for the Bulldogs, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Ainsley Tolson led the team with 13 points. She shot just 1-of-8 from the field, but was 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Truman was 20 of 26 from the line as a team. Rake added 12 points, while Maddie Niemeyer scored 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

Jaylsa Stokes led the way for the Tritons, playing all 40 minutes and scoring a game-high 27 points. She also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Morgan Ramtun was the only other Missouri-St. Lewis player in double figures with 10 points.

Truman will play on the road against Quincy on Jan. 11. The Hawks are 3-5 in conference play and have lost four straight conference games.

Men’s basketball

The Bulldogs had a tough stretch to open the 2024 segment of the conference season, starting with the top seed and then traveling to play second-seeded Missouri-St. Lewis. After losing 86-48 to Indianapolis, Truman came a little closer in an 81-67 loss to the Tritons on Saturday.

The Bulldogs fell to 1-3 in conference play with the loss and have dropped three straight conference contests since defeating Upper Iowa on Dec. 2. They have also allowed an average of 89.3 points per game so far in conference play, which is 8.4 points per game higher than their average in non-conference play.

Much like the game between Truman and Indianapolis, the two teams battled for the first part of the first half. They went back and forth Saturday, with Truman leading 15-14 with just over 10 minutes left in the half.

Missouri-St. Lewis would then outscore the Bulldogs 28-10 by the end of the half to take a 42-25 lead into the break. That closing stretch of the first half was really the difference in the game, as Truman then responded by outscoring Triton 42-39 in the second half. It took Truman just over two minutes to cut a 17-point halftime deficit to single digits and nine, but Missouri-St. Lewis came back in double figures and stayed there until Truman cut it to eight points with 1:35 left in the game. The Tritons then closed the game on an 8-2 run to win by 14 points.

The Tritons consistently shot the ball throughout the game, shooting 15 of 30 from the field in the first half and 14 of 30 in the second. Truman 10-of-17 in the first half, but then outscored Missouri-St. Lewis in the second, 15-of-29. Truman also shot 9-of-20 from three in the second half and 12-of-31 in the game, while the Tritons were 8-of-24 from deep. Missouri-St. Lewis made up for it by earning a 10-point lead in penalty kicks.

Landon Eiland led the Bulldogs with 13 points. Casen Lawrence and Matt Haefner each added 12 off the bench. The two helped Truman score 40 points off the bench in a game where all four starters, except for Eiland, who shot 4-of-8, struggled from the field. They shot a combined 6 of 23.

The Bulldogs will look to bounce back on the road against Quincy on Jan. 11. The Hawks are 3-3 in conference play and are coming off a win over Southwest Baptist.

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