LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University's men's basketball team fell to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponent Hanover College on Wednesday night, 69-65. The Pioneers led for 27:33 in the game, extending their lead to as wide as 13 points in the second half, but a late and extended run from the Panthers ended the Transy efforts to pick up their first conference win.
Guard Alex Jones carried much of the load for the Pioneers, scoring 26 points on 57 percent (12-21) shooting from the floor, including two three-point baskets. In addition to his scoring efforts, Jones pulled down 11 rebounds, three offensive, and picked up his first double-double of the season.
The first 10 minutes of the game were tightly contested as the teams traded baskets in the early going. However, a jump shot from forward Tim Bickel pushed the Pioneers' lead to four with 12:51 to play in the opening period, sparking an 11-4 run that was capped by a Jones jumper at the 7:39 mark.
The Pioneers would continue to build their lead in the first half, thanks in large part to an efficient offense that limited turnovers and put the ball in the basket at a high rate. Transy shot 54 percent (15-28) from the floor in the opening period and scored 12 points on six Hanover turnovers to help jump out to a seven-point halftime lead.
In the second period, Transylvania looked poised to put the game away early, extending their lead to 12 less than two minutes into the second half on a three-pointer from Jones with 17:47 left in the contest. The Pioneers' lead swelled to its largest at the 12:54 mark when Jones again found his way to the basket and scored on a layup to make the score 53-40.
However, Hanover responded with a three of its own on their next possession to cut the Transylvania lead to 10, sparking a run over the next six minutes in which they outscored the Pioneers 16-1. The Panthers upped the defensive intensity over that stretch, turning Transy over on several occasions and forcing a number of tightly-contested jump shots from the Pioneers.
Hanover took the lead for good at the 5:25 mark and the Pioneers struggled to get back into the game. Trailing 56-54, Transylvania committed two turnovers and missed two shots in their next four possessions and watched Hanover push their lead to four with 3:16 to play. The teams would trade baskets over the next minute of game play but with 1:33 to play a turnover from guard Cooper Theobald gave Hanover the extra possession they needed to extend their lead to an insurmountable 64-58 advantage.
Jones' 26 points were a game-high, as were his 11 boards. He was joined in double figures by forward Bo Schuh, who scored 10 points on 33 percent (4-12) shooting. Transylvania out rebounded the Panthers 38-33 in the contest, but committed nine second half turnovers, allowing Hanover the opportunity to get back in the game.
Transylvania (1-6, 0-2 HCAC) returns to action on Saturday at conference foe Anderson as part of a men's/women's doubleheader beginning at 2:00pm.