Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's basketball team had its 11-game winning streak halted by the Anderson University Ravens in an 87-84 final minute defeat on Saturday afternoon at the Beck Center.
Transylvania's bargain for redemption against an Anderson team which had handed it an earlier season loss on the road was thwarted as the Ravens picked up the dramatic win to improve to 10-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The Pioneers, who entered the game looking to draw even with the Ravens in conference play, fell to 8-4 in conference competition with six games to go in the regular season.
Sophomore point guard Cooper Theobald led all players in scoring with 26 points, draining 11-of-16 shots from the floor while knocking down 4-of-5 free throws. The Pioneers and Ravens wasted little at the charity stripe on Saturday afternoon; as a team, Transylvania shot 22-for-23 from the foul line, while Anderson connected on all of 21 of its free throws.
The Pioneers jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first six minutes of the game, but the quick start proved unsustainable against Anderson, who played the Pioneers close for virtually the rest of the game. Anderson drew a six-point lead late in the first half before the Pioneers went on a 6-0 run, capped off by a jumper from sophomore Bo Schuh to even the game at 35-all. Anderson scored on a three-point play prior to halftime to take a 38-37 lead to the half.
Theobald took over in the second half for Transylvania, hitting 8-of-10 field goals to score 19 points in the final period. The Pioneers also received 11 second-half points from Kyle Gullett along with three blocks to lead the attack.
With exactly 10 minutes remaining in the second half, the Pioneers went on a 7-0 run, as a 2-for-2 trip to the free throw line and a three-pointer from Schuh sandwiched a layup by Theobald. From the eight-minute to the five-minute mark, Anderson pulled back into the game, taking a 74-73 lead on two free throws from guard Trevor Lucas. From there, neither team led by three points the rest of the way as the Pioneers and Ravens conjured up magical offensive plays.
With 1:13 to go, Gullett was fouled and hit two free throws to hand Transy an 82-80 lead. But Lucas threw up a wild runner and was fouled on the ensuing possession, completing a three-point play to take back the lead for Anderson at 83-82.
The Pioneers answered as Theobald scored on a backdoor cut, but Lucas again scored on a runner down the lane for an 85-84 lead. Senior guard Alex Jones drove and came up short on a jumpshot, and Anderson hit two free throws the other way for an 87-84 lead.
Inbounding from midcourt with five seconds remaining, the Pioneers ran a well-designed give-and-go play to set up freshman guard Gabe Schmitt for an open triple, but his shot was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
Schmitt finished the night with 15 points as the freshman shot 3-for-4 from outside. Gullett finished the game with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, and four blocks, while freshman guard Spencer McKinney was the other double-digit scorer with 11 points.
The Pioneers will try to rebound as they host the team tied with Hanover in the HCAC standings, Hanover College on Wednesday at the Beck Center. Tipoff for that game is set for 7:30 p.m.
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