LEXINGTON, Ky.—The Transylvania University men's basketball team completed two comebacks on the night, one in each half, as they grabbed their first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory of the season. In front of an energetic and explosive crowd, the Pioneers mounted an eight-point comeback in the second half to take a 58-57 lead with 9:15 to play and would seal the victory behind strong defense and clutch free throws down the stretch.
Transy was led by forward Parker Stansberry, who enjoyed a career night to carry the Pioneers to victory. He tallied 29 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the floor for a season-high and a top-five scoring performance for his career. In addition to the tremendous scoring effort, Stansberry recorded his 1,000th career point on a layup for the game's opening score at the 18:47 mark in the first half.
"Scoring 1,000 points in this program is pretty awesome," said Stansberry. "I didn't do it in high school so to be able to do it here is a pretty great feeling."
After jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead in the opening period, Transylvania found itself trailing just three minutes later after two free throws from Anderson put the Ravens on top 14-13. Anderson would continue to build its lead throughout the remainder of the half, taking their largest lead of the game at the 4:20 mark after a free throw put the Ravens ahead 26-24.
Transylvania responded strongly, closing the gap in a matter of minutes. A layup from guard Cooper Theobald with 4:06 to play in the opening frame started an 18-2 run over the final minutes of the second half. Two free throws from forward Tim Bickel knotted the game up with 51 seconds left in the period and two layups from forward Bo Schuh, including one at the buzzer, allowed the Pioneers to take a four-point, 42-38 lead into the intermission.
In the second half, Transy quickly pushed their led to five but a 10-0 run from Anderson spanning just under five minutes of gameplay put the Pioneers behind 50-45 with 15:54 left in the game. Transylvania fought back on numerous occasions, cutting the margin to one possession several time, but with each big Pioneer basket, the Ravens responded with a bucket of their own.
The momentum shifted in favor of the Pioneers for good however, when Theobald pulled down a defensive rebound and found Schuh on an outlet pass. On the ensuing fastbreak, Shcuh threw down a monster jam, cutting the margin to five points. From then on, Transy was in the driver's seat as they took the lead at the 9:15 mark.
After battling back and forth and four lead changes over the next four minutes in the game, a jumper from Stansberry with 3:15 to play in the game gave the Pioneers a lead they would hold onto for the remainder of the contest. Down the stretch, Transylvania made key free throws and forced several Anderson turnovers, allowing them to swell their lead to 14 points with 28 seconds left.
Said Stansberry, "We've come on some hard times early in the season, but we've known that we can win any game on our schedule. We came out today and did what we needed to do and played with energy all game to make sure we came out on top."
In addition to his scoring outburst, Stansberry pulled down six rebounds. Schuh, Theobald and Bickel joined Stansberry in double-figures with 15, 13 and 12 respectively to carry the load for Transylvania. The Pioneers also benefited from 19 bench points and 26 points off turnovers after their defensive intensity forced 18 Anderson turnovers. The Pioneers also crashed the boards hard, racking up 41 rebounds, 11 offensive, en route to the victory.
Transylvania (2-7, 1-2 HCAC) returns to action Dec. 22 in a home contest with Ohio Wesleyan. That game is scheduled to begin at 7:00pm.