Transylvania men's basketball set for showdown with Manchester on Saturday

Transylvania men's basketball set for showdown with Manchester on Saturday

Lexington, Ky. - The Transylvania men's basketball team (9-5, 4-3 HCAC) puts its season-best seven-game win streak on the line Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. when it hosts the Manchester University Spartans (4-9, 3-4 HCAC).

Transylvania is enjoying its longest win streak since the 2011-12 season, which is the second-to-last time the Pioneers qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

The Pioneers enter the game coming off of an 87-71 home win against Franklin College on Wednesday, and have dispatched of their last three straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents.

The Pioneers are led by the reigning HCAC Player of the Week, sophomore guard Cooper Theobald, who notched a pair of conference records last Saturday in a 111-102 double overtime victory at Defiance.

Theobald rewrote the HCAC record books for free throws made and attempted, knocking down 29 of 32 free throws in the critical performance. Theobald's 32 free throw attempts also serve as the new NCAA Division III men's basketball record for single-game attempts. In that game, Theobald also collected his second double-double of the season with 37 points and 12 rebounds, while adding four assists.

In the Pioneers' most recent game on Wednesday, all five starters reached double-digit scoring, led by Theobald's 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the floor. Senior guard Alex Jones collected a double-double as he enjoyed 17 points, l10 rebounds, and six assists.

The Pioneers welcome a Manchester team that has also defeated its last three consecutive HCAC opponents, most recently picking up a 67-65 win at Bluffton on Wednesday. Senior guard Tyler Alexander, who transferred from conference neighbor Defiance this past offseason, leads the team in scoring at 19.7 points per game while shooting 60.2 percent from the field.

In last year's series, each team picked up a road win as the Pioneers won at Manchester 78-74 on January 16, 2016. Manchester spoiled Transylvania's 2016 senior day with a 97-80 win at the Beck Center on February 20, 2016.

The Pioneers stand alone in fourth place entering the weekend, sitting two games back of Anderson, Mt. St. Joseph, and Hanover, who are knotted in a three-way tie for first place. Saturday's game thus presents a critical opportunity for the Pioneers to hold serve in the upper echelon of the HCAC tournament picture.

 

Statistical Leaders

Points: Theobald, 16.9 ppg (8th in HCAC)

Rebounds: Theobald, 7.4 rpg (4th in HCAC)

Assists: A. Jones, 4.6 apg (2nd in HCAC)

Blocks: Gullett, 2.5 bpg (1st in HCAC)

Steals: Theobald, 1.1 spg (13th in HCAC)

FG%: Theobald, 53.3% (7th in HCAC)

3 pt FG: Pulliam, 46.3% (5th in HCAC)

 

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