by Drury Athletics
The Drury Panthers won their third consecutive game Saturday afternoon turning back Truman State 65-59 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center to move to 12-10 on the season and 6-5 in Great Lakes Valley Conference action.
The Panthers survived a second-half series of scoring runs by both teams draining a handful of free throws in the final minute of play to turn back the Bulldogs (11-11, 6-6). The Panthers outscored Truman State 9-1 to open the second half and gain a ten point edge at 33-23, but the Bulldogs went on a 16-6 run to tie the contest at 39-39 with just under 13 minutes to play. Drury recaptured the lead with a 16-5 scoring binge and a 55-44 advantage with just over five minutes remaining.
“We were a bit lazy in our rotation on the ball at times, and they do a good job on ball screens and making the extra pass,” said Steve Hesser, Drury head coach. “When you’re worried about the three-pointer, you sometimes don’t get in as far as you need and they hurt us early.”
Senior Tyler Clanton scored all ten of his points in the second half, and junior Kamau Kinder also had ten second-half points among his team-high 15 to carry the Panthers. Senior Andrew Ballock also reached double-figure scoring, finishing with 11. Truman State was led by Brodric Thomas and Cade McKnight with 15 points each.
“I thought Kamau stepped up and made a couple of huge plays for us when Conley (Garrison) went out in foul trouble, and that gave us some confidence that we could do things without the guy that’s been leading us this season,” added Hesser.
The first half was a defensive duel as tight pressure by both teams saw limited scoring and resulted in a 24-22 lead for the Panthers at the break. Drury shot 42 percent for the game (22 for 52) and was 17 of 20 from the free throw line. Truman State hit at a 47 percent clip (22 for 47). The teams finished tied in rebounding with 31 boards apiece.
Drury continues their current homestand with a 7:45 pm game against Maryville on February 7 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.