LEXINGTON, Ky.—Sophomore Alex Jones scored a career-high 40 points to go with nine assists, and Transylvania shot 64 percent from the field as the Pioneers topped the Franklin (Ind.) College Grizzlies, 90-78, Wednesday night at the Clive M. Beck Center.
The two teams entered Wednesday's game just one game apart in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, as the Pioneers picked up a key win near the mid-point of the season.
Jones, who had just 12 points in the first half, added 28 points in the second half as the Pioneers blew open a game that had been 46-42 at the half. With 11:54 to play, Jones scored nine straight Pioneer points, including three free throws when he was fouled on a shot from behind-the-arc as the shot clock wound down. Jones hit all three free throws to put the Pioneers up 67-57, before grabbing a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup that increased the Transylvania lead to 12 with 9:08 remaining in the game.
"Once we got the lead, we made sure we didn't let up," Jones said following the game. "We played aggressively....We knew we had to take care of business."
Where Jones' scoring was the story of the second half, his unselfish play was one of the stories of the first half. In the first half, Jones recorded seven assists to go with 12 points. When Tim Bickel scored six straight points to key a 9-2 Pioneer run that stretched the lead to 13 at 36-23 with less than six minutes to play in the first half, it was Jones who assisted on all three baskets, and his all-around effort was praised by Transylvania coach Brian Lane.
"Alex Jones was able to not only have 40 points, but he dished out nine assists as well," Lane said. "It was one of the better individual performances that I have seen in the Beck Center."
For the game, Transylvania scorched the nets, hitting 64 percent from the field (36-of-56) including 71 percent (5-of-7) from behind the three-point line. The Pioneers shot 62 percent (16-of-26) from the field in the second half, which was actually down from a first half that saw the Pioneers shoot 67 percent (20-of-30) from the field.
"We came into the game wanting to concentrate on our spacing," Lane said. "That allowed some driving opportunities and Alex was able to find the gaps and get the mid-range jumper."
Transylvania was led by Jones, who finished with 40 points on 15-of-24 shooting and nine assists. Parker Stansberry and Bickel each finished with 12 points, and Tristan Burgess scored six points on two three-pointers. The Grizzlies were led by Aaron Mann who finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Transylvania (7-9, 4-5 HCAC) returns to action on Saturday, Jan, 24, as part of a double-header against Rose-Hulman. The Pioneer men tip-off at approximately 3 p.m.
Story by: Mike Bennett