McKinney leads second-half comeback in Pioneers victory over Franklin

McKinney graphic TU 73 Franklin 62

Lexington, Ky. - Sophomore guard Spencer McKinney scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half as the Transylvania men's basketball team fought back from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Franklin College Grizzlies, 73-62 at the Beck Center on Wednesday night.

With the win, Transylvania's record grows to 17-7 on the season and 12-5 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with only one game remaining in the regular season.

The loss drops Franklin to 8-16 overall and 7-10 in the HCAC.

McKinney led the Pioneers with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, and a perfect 4-for-4 display from three-point range. The sophomore also grabbed six rebounds and tallied five assists in the victory.

Junior forward Kyle Gullett turned in a strong performance for the Pioneers that consisted of 15 points, five blocks, and four rebounds. Gullett continues to lead the HCAC in blocks per game with a mark of 1.7 per contest.

The first half belonged to the Grizzlies, who jumped out to a 24-11 lead, their largest of the game, midway through the half.

Transylvania fought to keep the game within reach, but Franklin carried a 40-29 lead into the locker room at the half.  Gullett led the Pioneers with nine points in the first half. 

The Transylvania shooters started to heat up in the second half, and the Pioneers started the half on an 11-to-5 run.

Not to be outdone, Franklin answered with a 7-to-2 run of its own that pushed the score to 52-42 with 14:25 remaining in the game. 

After fighting to get within three points of the Grizzles, McKinney knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to give the Pioneers the lead for good at 57-54 at the 8:08 mark of the second half.

Transylvania outscored Franklin 16-8 over the final eight minutes of the game to claim the 73-62 victory.

Next up, the Pioneers will host the Anderson University Ravens in the regular season finale on Saturday, February 17. The game will also serve as Senior Day for the Pioneers, who will honor outgoing seniors Tristan Burgess and Robert Dence in a pregame ceremony. The game is set for a 4:00 p.m. start at the Beck Center.