Pioneers win seventh in a row with home success vs. Franklin

Alex Jones and the Pioneers locked down Franklin from outside, holding the Grizzlies to 27 percent three-point FG shooting
Alex Jones and the Pioneers locked down Franklin from outside, holding the Grizzlies to 27 percent three-point FG shooting

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's basketball team kept to their winning ways as they defeated the Franklin College Grizzlies 87-71 at Beck Center on Wednesday night thanks to a well-balanced team performance in which all five Pioneer starters scored in double figures.

Prior to the game, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Life Dr. Holly Sheilley presented Coach Brian Lane with a framed picture commemorating his recent 250th victory as head coach of the Pioneers, claimed last week in a home win against Earlham College.

Sophomore guard Cooper Theobald led the Pioneers in scoring with 23 points in addition to his eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

The stellar game from the Fort Mitchell, Kentucky native came on the heels of his record-setting performance against Defiance last Saturday, when he set the NCAA Division III record for most free-throw attempts in a game.

The Pioneers also received a spectacular performance from senior guard Alex Jones, who poured in 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field, along with 10 rebounds, and six assists.

Jones now stands in second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in assists per game with an average of 4.6 per contest.

Joining Jones and Theobald in the scoring column was freshman guard Gabe Schmitt, who added 13 points in the win. The duo of sophomore forward Kyle Gullett and freshman guard Spencer McKinney each added 10 points in the Transylvania victory.

The Pioneers got off to a cold start as they fell behind the Grizzlies early in the first half. Franklin grew its lead to as large as seven points with 10:42 remaining in the first half.

However, the Pioneers would respond as they went on a massive 19-0 run, capped off by a Jones three that extended the Pioneers' lead to 36-23 with 3:46 remaining in the opening half.

The Grizzlies would try to mount a comeback in the second half as they cut the Pioneer lead to just four points one minute into the second half. But Transylvania quickly responded with a 9-2 run of their own to push the lead back to 11 with 16 minutes remaining.

The Pioneers continued to control the game throughout the half by outshooting the Grizzlies from the field. Transylvania knocked down six 3-pointers in the half, while Franklin went 0-6 from beyond the arc.

A three-point jumper by freshman guard Harrison Lane extended the Pioneers' lead to their largest of the game at 87-69 with just over a minute remaining in the game.

With the win, the Pioneers' winning streak now stands at seven games, their longest stretch since the 2011-12 season. The surge has propelled Transylvania into sole possession of fourth place in the HCAC standings with 11 games remaining in the season.

Transylvania will try to keep their winning streak alive this Saturday at home, as they host the Manchester Spartans in a pivotal HCAC matchup. Tipoff is set for 3:00 PM at the Beck Center following the women's basketball team's matchup with Manchester.

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