By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor

 

To nobody’s surprise, the University of Missouri- St. Louis men’s basketball team is a force to be reckoned with in the Great Lake Valley Conference. Aside from an exhibition set back against Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and an eight point game difference in the home opener against Ferris State, it is still the perfect time to jump on the Triton men’s basketball bandwagon.

Last year, The Tritons dropped their first three games to the likes of St. Louis University, Ferris State, and Grand Valley State in a less than spectacular fashion. Despite opening this season with a loss to Sallkis and Ferris State, the Tritons were able to edge out a victory against Grand Valley State this year, 56-51. The Tritons followed this up with another home game win against Robert Morris-Peoria, 102-64. Currently, as of Thursday, the team has a record of 4-4, better than the previous season game record of 3-5.

With winter break starting soon, the Tritons provide a reason to stay on campus: hosting three home games in the Mark Twain Building, home of the Chuck Smith Court, which serves as the home facility to the UMSL men’s and women’s basketball teams and the UMSL volleyball team. Designed to accommodate 3,700, fans, students are more than encouraged to invite family and friends with general admission tickets at only seven dollars.

The match-ups during winter break will include a Thursday, December 8 game against Trevecca Nazarene, a Thursday, January 5 game against Indianapolis, and a Saturday, January 7 game against St. Joseph’s. The last two matches up will also be GLVC conference match-ups, sure to be even more competitive and intense.

While stirring up the coaching staff can be less than appealing, new assistant coaches Scott Gauthier and Jesse Shaw are all about winning championships and look to prove it this season. Gauthier was instrumental in aiding the Webster Groves Statesmen to nine Suburban South Conference championships, three district championships, two state quarterfinal appearances, and the 2008 Missouri Class 5 state championship. As for Shaw, his Pratt Community College Beavers were the only team left standing after the region tournament’s final buzzer sounded, qualifying for the national tournament for the fourth time in the history of the school. With their experiences they will lead the team in the right direction.

As for the roster, it is surely the number one reason to be a Triton fan.

This is due in part to players such as the 6’2 guard, Steven Davis, junior, business management. In the November 21 match-up against Webster University, Davis came up one three-pointer shy of the school record of nine. Davis netted eight three-pointers and totaled 26 points in the game leading UMSL to a 72-64 win. Davis scores a team-best 11.6 points per game with an insane 77 percent of points from beyond the three point line. This ranks him second in the GLVC and 23rd in the NCAA DII.

Hunter Reine, senior, criminal justice, follows suit with 9.0 points per game with 7.9 rebounds per game, ranking him 5th in the GLVC.

The men’s basketball team has been known to invest in the community and look for the best ways to connect to the school while generating a buzz about games. With an exciting new and improved team, it would be hard not to jump onto the Triton bandwagon.

UMSL’s next match-up will be against Trevecca Nazarene in the Mark Twain Building at 7:00 p.m. on December 8. To follow the men’s basketball team and other UMSL athletics visit http://www.umsltritons.com.