BY HUNTER DONELSON
In the first round of the Phog Allen Invitational at William Chrisman, the Truman Patriots faced Southeast. Just a year ago the Knights took down the Patriots, 65-46, in the exact same game, on the exact same court.
“We had a lot of the revenge feeling coming into this game. We wanted it more than they did this time, we had confidence that we were going to win,” said senior Kaimen Lennox.
And revenge they achieved. For the very first game of the season, Truman came out near-perfect shooting 20-34 from the field and 7-13 from three. The Patriots outscored Southeast 27-6 in the first quarter led by senior guard Caleb Allen who came in off the bench and caught fire. In one of the first offensive possessions with Allen on the court, he splashed a three. Allen would also hit back-to-back threes to end the quarter as the Patriots started their night off with a bang.
“For us to be successful we have to have three or four guys in double figures every night and Caleb shot the ball so well. We put him in there and he was on fire,” Briggs told The Examiner in a post-game interview.
Scorching hot, the Patriots would pour on 30 more in the second. But the offense wasn’t the only thing that was setting the building on fire.. the defense too. The team forced 22 first-half turnovers and would end up forcing a total of 29 for the game.
“It felt great to come out, get everyone involved, and shoot the ball at such a high level to start the season. But the defense was what really made us proud. It’s something that we’ve been working on a lot in practice and hope to continue to be successful with. Time will tell,” said senior guard Cameron Robins.
With a 7-2 run by Truman’s Lennox, the Patriots held a 56-21 halftime lead. They didn’t slow down there. At the end of the third quarter, Truman led 72-36. At one point in the fourth quarter, they pushed the lead to 42.
The defense dominated, as did senior forward Macio Moananu. With two fastbreak dunks and three 3-pointers, Moananu finished with a game-high 19 points. With all the scoring that the Patriots tallied, they ended with four players in double figures; Macio Moananu (19), Kaimen Lennox (16), Caleb Allen (16), and Jeliel Phillips (10).
“It was a solid game, but we’ve got to put it behind and move on to the next one,” Moananu said. “We’ll celebrate tonight and move on tomorrow.”
The 79-46 victory advances Truman to the second round of the Phog Allen Invitational where they’ll face Lutheran North in the tournament semifinals Friday night.
Highlights edited by Dalton Duncan: