Hanover, Ind. – A comeback bid by the Transylvania men's basketball team was doused by a Corey Muchmore buzzer-beater as the Hanover College Panthers won 71-69 with no time left on Wednesday night at Collier Arena.
The game-winner by Muchmore was a bitter end to a resilient night for the Pioneers, who fell to 2-3 overall, and 1-1 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play after the shocking ending.
Just moments before the crowning moment, the Pioneers appeared to be in the driver's seat after late-game heroics from senior guard Alex Jones. Trailing 65-68 with 20 seconds left, the Pioneers guard drove for a score to pull his team within one with 10 ticks of the clock remaining. Transylvania applied a foul to Hanover, and Levi Buck split a pair of free throws to leave the door open for the Pios with just a 69-67 advantage.
Again, Jones drove the lane to score on a scintillating and-one layup to tie the game at 69-all. But Jones was off the mark on the go-ahead free throw attempt and the Panthers corralled the rebound, quickly calling timeout.
With one last chance to score, Muchmore found paydirt on a layup at the buzzer to give the hometown Panthers the thrilling win.
While the Pioneers were denied a hard-fought victory, there were points of encouragement over the course of the grueling 40-minute contest.
After the Pioneers spent the first portion of the second half erasing a seven-point deficit, the game remained neck-and-neck throughout with the Pioneers eventually drawing even at 50-50 at the 9:05 mark of the second half. Neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way as the game turned into a classic HCAC December tussle.
Jones led the way on a foul-plagued night for the Pioneers; the senior evaded foul trouble to achieve a 24-point night on 11-of-22 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and seven assists.
Starting sophomores in forward Kyle Gullett and point guard Cooper Theobald were held in check as each player picked up five fouls and combined for 17 points on the evening. The Pioneers however experienced their budding depth, as sophomore wing Hines Jones added five points, four rebounds, two steals, and two assists off the bench, while senior forward David Keyer matched Jones with five points.
While the Pioneers canned seven more field goals than the Panthers in the contest, Hanover outscored Transylvania at the foul line, hitting 25 of 29 attempts to just 8 of 19 by the visitors.
The Pioneers will have a chance for redemption on Saturday as they visit HCAC rival Anderson University. Transylvania and Anderson are scheduled to face off at 4:00 p.m. at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
For more on Transylvania men's basketball, follow their official twitter @TransyHoops