Lexington, KY – Junior guard Alex Jones enjoyed an unprecedented double-double, registering a career-high 12 assists along with 20 points as the Transylvania men's basketball team battled past Defiance 80-71 at the Beck Center Saturday.
Eight of Jones's assists came in the first half, who saved his scoring barrage for the second half, posting 14 of his 20 points after the halftime break.
Senior forward Parker Stansberry had a game-high 21 points after being honored prior to the game for reaching the 1,000-point club last month against Anderson.
The Pioneers drained 10-of-20 three-point attempts in a collective display of offensive efficiency, committing just three turnovers, their lowest total since turning it over just twice on Feb. 16, 2011 against Earlham. Transylvania turned over the ball only once in the second half against Defiance.
The Pioneers' display of tremendous care with the basketball marked just the second game this season in which they have committed single-digit turnovers (Transy committed nine turnovers against Centre on Nov. 23).
"This game was a total team effort; guys like Alex Jones stepped into leadership roles, senior Lowell Gordon stepped up, and Parker Stansberry are guys who understand their roles and played hard on defense," reflected assistant coach Barrett Meyer after the victory. "We had to overcome a lot of adversity this year and guys continue to play hard."
The Pioneers reprised the quick start the Transylvania women's basketball team unveiled in the first game of the day's doubleheader as they opened up the contest on an 11-2 run within the first four minutes of the game. Robert Dence cashed in on a pick-and-roll for an early 4-0 lead and Alex Jones found his scoring knack early, knocking down two jumpers for an 8-2 Transy lead.
Defiance stood up to pull within four, but Stansberry sunk his first of four first half 3-point shots with 13:03 left to hand his Pioneers with a 15-9 lead.
Tristan Burgess joined in the three point throng, knocking down two 3-pointers in a row to boost Transylvania's lead to 23-12 at the 10:39 mark of the first half. Defiance responded with an 11-3 run to close within three, but Stansberry chimed in with another timely 3-ball to quell the run and give the Pios a six-point cushion.
Transylvania's defensive prowess was readily apparent in the first half, holding Defiance to a 27-point half and the sixth-leading scorer in the conference, Tyler Alexander to just six points.
Alexander found his rhythm in the second half, scoring 19 points after intermission, but Jones did his best to match him, facilitating the offense with four more assists while shooting 7-for-13 from the floor in the final frame.
Transylvania's lead grew to 14 multiple times, the final juncture coming at the 12:59 mark of the second half, before Defiance carved the lead down to five over the next seven and a half minutes.
Down the stretch, Stansberry took matters into his own hands, scoring on a tip-in with 5:19 left to give the Pioneers a 64-57 lead. Following a layup by the Yellow Jackets, Alex Jones nailed a jumper before Stansberry powered home a layup on which he was fouled, converting a three-point play that stretched the lead for the home team back to 10.
Far from far trouble, Defiance began pressurizing Transylvania guards in an effort to force turnovers and move the contest towards the free throw line, but Cooper Theobald and Jones secured the game at the charity stripe in the final two minutes.
Theobald finished one rebound short of what would have been his second straight double-double after a 15-point, 13-rebound showing at Earlham on Wednesday.
Both teams shot the ball exquisitely, as the Pioneers went 50.9 percent from the field for the day, while the Yellow Jackets shot 52.7 percent from the floor, including a sharp 58.1 percent in the second half.
The win supplied Transylvania with their first winning streak of the season as they improved to 4-9 overall and an even 3-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Transylvania will look to grow their winning streak to three games when they venture to Franklin College on Wednesday for a 7:30 PM tipoff.