The #3 SBU Bearcats remained undefeated, and held off the upset bid of the Truman Bulldogs, winning 70-57.  Truman State battled back in the first half to close the gap, but couldn’t hold on as SBU wins 23rd in a row at home.

SBU led 38-21 with 3:45 left in the first half before Truman would go on a 19-2 run that would see the Bulldogs tie the game at 40 early in the second half.  SBU would extend the lead to 59-47 at the eight-minute mark on a three by Matt Rogers. But Truman would battle back to cut the lead to 60-54 on a layup by Banks Estridge, with just under five minutes remaining. The ‘Cats would then pull away down the stretch, going 21 of 30 from the foul line for the game.

Head coach Jeff Guiot commented on the Truman run to end the first half. "In other games, we’ve had the scoring spurts. But tonight they had the run at the end of the first half to catch us. We tightened things up in the second half. Seniors Nick (Kovacevich) and D’Ante (Harris) did a good job defensively in the second half."

D"Ante Harris led the Bearcats with 22 points, while Nick Kovacevich added 15 points. Matt Rogers had 13 points, but this contest was the first game all season where SBU did not have at least four players in double figures. Rogers had a season high 9 blocks to go along with 8 rebounds to lead the Bearcats.

Ethan Freeman had 19 points to lead the Bulldogs. The Bearcats held TSU to just 19 points in the second half after leading at halftime 40-38. SBU shot a season-low 39% from the field and made just 7 of 26 shots from long range. The contest saw 43 fouls called on the two teams.

Guiot was disappointed in his team’s offensive execution. "We weren’t unselfish enough. Our passing was poor. We had 15 assists and 14 turnovers, which is not good. We weren’t moving or weren’t as crisp. Some of that is because it’s New Year’s Eve, or the second game in three days, or the students weren’t here. But in the end, there are no excuses. You’ve got to come to play. Now we have two tough road games at Emporia and Washburn. We can’t have this mindset on the road or we’ll get beat."

The win extended SBU’s home court winning streak to 23 games. SBU improves to 11-0 on the year and leads the MIAA at 4-0. Truman falls to 5-7 and 0-5 in the MIAA.

The Bearcats are back in action on the road on Saturday in Emporia, when they battle the Emporia State Hornets. Game time is 7:30 p.m. from White Auditorium.