DEFIANCE, Ohio—The Transylvania University men's basketball team came up short in their road matchup with the Yellow Jackets of Defiance College on Saturday, dropping the contest by a score of 97-58. Despite the loss, the Pioneers remain in the playoff picture for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, where they currently sit in fifth place in the standings.
Transy fell victim to a Defiance offense that was on fire for the entire game as they shot 58 percent (37-64) from the floor, including burying 17 three-pointers. The Pioneers fell behind early as Defiance scored on seven of their first nine possessions and jumped out to an early 19-8 lead at the 13:15 mark in the first half.
After a three-pointer from the Yellow Jackets made the score 29-12, the Pioneers took a timeout but it did not curb the momentum Defiance had built, as they continued to expand their lead. Defiance continued to hit shots for the remainder of the half and over the closing eight minutes of play in the period, they scored 16 points to build a comfortable halftime lead of 47-28.
While Transylvania shot 41 percent (12-29), they went just 1-for-5 from behind the arc and could not match the torrid pace of the Yellow Jackets' offense, which knocked down 7-of-14 three-point attempts en route to shooting 58 percent (19-33) in the opening 20 minutes.
At the intermission, the Pioneers had committed just three turnovers and pulled down 15 rebounds but the offensive efficiency of Defiance was difficult to match. Sophomore guard Alex Jones led the Transy offense with nine points in the first and freshman forward Robert Dence added eight. The Pioneer bench was held scoreless in the first half, however, while Defiance found seven points from non-starters.
In the second, Defiance continued to light it up from deep, going 10-for-17 from three-point range and Transy went cold in the closing period, shooting just 38 percent (13-34) and eight percent (1-12) from behind the arc.
The Transylvania bench stepped it up in the second half, scoring 25 points, led by seven points from sophomore guard Mason Monroe. Jones was the leading scorer for the Pioneers with 14 points while freshman forward Tim Bickel was the key rebounder for Transylvania as he pulled down five boards in the game.
With the loss, Transylvania drops to 12-11 on the season (9-7 HCAC) but stay in the hunt for a postseason berth, one game ahead of the sixth place team in the loss column, giving them a slight edge heading into the final week of the regular season. Transylvania returns home on Feb. 18 with a matchup against Hanover. Bluffton University (12-11, 8-8 HCAC) comes to the Beck Center on Feb. 21 for senior day in the regular season finale. The game lines up as a potential play-in game for the conference tournament as Bluffton currently holds the sixth and final slot in the tournament.