By Quin Welch, Sports Editor
Teams that can control the game from the start usually have a great chance to win.
That incredibly obvious statement fits No. 9 Bellarmine’s 86-57 demolition of the Truman State Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Yasin Kolo, who scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the 29-point victory, said he could certainly improve upon his double-double outing.
“I can only get better. I mean, I scored 15 points because of my teammates, because we all help each other,” Kolo said. “We play as a team and as a family.”
After three early turnovers from the Knights, they rallied, and drained three 3-pointers in just over a minute and a half early in the first half. George Suggs hit one, followed by two from Kolo.
Kolo said the offensive spurt came from a renewed focus on defense.
“Coach told us whenever we mess up, ‘Go back on defense and make up for it.’ That’s what’s so good about our team,” Kolo said. “We make up for our mistakes and we push each other to do well. That’s the key.”
After that run, the Knights continued to build their lead, taking a 17-point lead into halftime and expanding it to 32 with 1:49 left in the game.
Truman State, which came into the game 12-3 overall and 4-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, suffered its worst defeat since losing to Union University 84-53 on Nov. 27.
Bellarmine Coach Scotty Davenport said he was pleased his team defeated the GLVC Western Division leaders so handily.
“They responded as a team. That comes from leadership and that comes from within,” Davenport said. “Coaches challenge, players respond. I am incredibly proud of this basketball team tonight.“
The Bulldogs had a tough time defending the Knights, as Bellarmine shot over 57 percent from the field and over 43 percent from behind the 3-point line. Truman State Coach Chris Foster said there really isn’t a good way to defend Bellarmine.
“It’s kind of a pick your poison. You try to take away Troutman, and they got Suggs and those other guys in there. You try to take away those inside guys and they got some perimeter guys,” Foster said.