Pioneers men's basketball ushers in a new year vs. Earlham

Pioneers men's basketball ushers in a new year vs. Earlham

Lexington, Ky. - As the Transylvania men's basketball team resumes its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference trek to begin 2017, the Pioneers look to establish footing with a major milestone on the line.

The Pioneers dive back into conference play this evening as they host the Earlham College Quakers of Richmond, Indiana at 7:30 p.m. at the Beck Center.

The Pioneers are riding high on a 4-game winning streak, their longest win streak of the 2016-17 season.

Transy finished off the 2016 calendar year strong with a 71-68 victory at Spalding last Friday, Dec. 30. In that 3-point victory, the Pioneers erased two double-digit deficits, including a 21-point hole in the first half.

The comeback against Spalding culminated with a game-winning 3-pointer from freshman guard Gabe Schmitt.

The beginning of the Pioneers' win streak originated at Transy's home tournament, the seventh-annual Don Lane Classic. Transylvania captured wins against Huntingdon and Ohio Northern, the latter of which came at the buzzer in an 86-84 victory, bolstered by a tip-in from senior guard Alex Jones with no time left that also completed a double-digit comeback in the second half.

Transylvania's current win streak is the longest consecutive streak since last season, when the Pioneers won four straight games in early January against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents (at Earlham, vs. Defiance, at Franklin, and at Manchester).

Transylvania is riding a few hot hands entering Wednesday's game; Jones is coming off of a 16-point performance in Friday's win against Spalding on 7-for-14 shooting from the floor.

The senior is shooting 53 percent from the field during Transylvania's 4-game winning streak. Joining Jones in that display of excellence is the freshman Schmitt, who has scored in double-figures in all four games of the win streak. Schmitt registered 17 points in the Dec. 21 victory against Ohio Northern.

Schmitt and Jones's performances were acknowledged as both were named to the All-Tournament team, with Jones being named the tournament MVP.

Tonight's game against the Quakers pits a matchup of two teams looking to establish their footing in conference play; the Pioneers are 1-3 while Earlham is also 1-3 in HCAC Play. The Quakers have won 2 of their last three games and are looking to rebound from a 101-63 loss to Wabash last Friday. Earlham is led by wing Darrell Hutchison, who is averaging 15.1 points per game.

Tonight's game also represents a milestone for 16th-year head coach Brian Lane. Ranking second all-time on the program's total win list for Transylvania coaches, Lane is at the 249-win mark entering tonight's game. Only his father, Don Lane, has more wins in program history with 509.

The high-scoring Pioneers currently boast five double-digit scorers, led by Jones at 16 points per game. Sophomores Cooper Theobald and Kyle Gullett, and freshmen Spencer McKinney and Schmitt are the other players averaging double-digit points per contest.

The Pioneers remain undefeated in all 12 meetings with Earlham since the Quakers joined the HCAC in the 2010-11 season. Transylvania swept last season's series, winning 76-66 at Earlham on Jan. 6, 2016 and 88-71 in Lexington on Feb. 6, 2016.

Statistical Leaders

Points – A. Jones, 16 ppg (9th in HCAC)

Rebounds – Theobald, 7.1 rpg (5th in HCAC)

Assists – A. Jones, 4.3 apg (2nd in HCAC)

Blocks – Gullett, 2.5 bpg (Conf. Leader)

Steals – A. Jones, 1.3 spg (10th in HCAC)

FG – Theobald, 54.3% FG, (7th in HCAC)

3 pt FG – Pulliam, 44.4% 3 pt FG (9th in HCAC)


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