Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's basketball team sent its three Class of 2017 seniors out on a high note with an 82-75 Senior Day win over the Defiance College Yellow Jackets on Saturday afternoon at the Beck Center.
The win strengthened Transylvania's overall record to 15-8, and 10-6 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The Pioneers maintained at least a share of fourth place in the conference standings with two games to go in conference play.
Senior guard Alex Jones had an afternoon to remember in his final home game, logging a game-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field.
The Pioneers received another steadfast performance from junior forward Robert Dence, who came off the bench to provide 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
Transylvania shot accurately on the afternoon, hitting an effective field goal percentage of 54.2 percent, bolstered by 9-for-18 shooting from downtown. Jones, freshman guard Spencer McKinney, and freshman guard Gabe Schmitt each knocked down two triples to lead an offensively enjoyable day.
The Pioneers showed off the quality of their interior size as they outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 43 to 26, 12 of which came on the offensive boards for the home team.
Transylvania grew its largest lead of the first half to seven at 24-17 following a three-pointer from Jones. But Defiance quickly answered with a 7-0 run of its own to cinch things up at 27-all. The Pios followed with a collection of gritty plays down the stretch to grab a 37-35 halftime lead.
The action remained tight throughout the first 11 minutes of the second half, until the Pioneers began having success as they attacked the rim and earned consistent trips to the free throw line. A succession of seven straight free throws from sophomore forward Kyle Gullett, sophomore guard Cooper Theobald, Schmitt, and Jones handed the Pioneers a 62-56 lead with 7:11 left in the second half.
Both teams endured a drought of over a minute before freshman guard Spencer McKinney sank a 3-pointer to build a nine-point lead for the Pioneers. Defiance answered with a three-point play but the pendulum of momentum swung back ferociously Transy's way when Gullett attacked the rim with a one-handed jam, and came up with a thunderous block on the following possession to put the Pios in the driver's seat.
Jones sent in his second 3-ball of the game with 3:19 remaining in the second half to give Transylvania a 72-61 lead, sealing up control of the contest.
The Pioneers will complete their regular season on the road with two straight games away from Lexington beginning with a contest on Wednesday, February 15 at Franklin College. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Franklin, Indiana.
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