Lexington, Ky. – For the second time in as many meetings, the Transylvania men's basketball team suffered a heartbreaking last-second defeat against the Hanover College Panthers, falling 70-69 on Wednesday night at the Beck Center.
The final hero of the night was Hanover guard Cam Fails, who buried a pull-up jumper on the left wing with two seconds left to give the Panthers the one-point victory. His clutch shot answered an ice-cold response by Transylvania sophomore point guard Cooper Theobald just moments before, whose elbow jumper handed the Pioneers a 69-68 lead.
In heartbreaking fashion, the Panthers collected their second win of the season against Transylvania after winning at the buzzer in their first meeting on December 10, winning the season series by a combined three points.
The Hanover win obscured an inspiring performance by the Pioneers, who erased a 15-point halftime deficit to take multiple leads late in the second half.
Theobald led the Pioneers in defeat with 24 points, three rebounds, and one assist while shooting 9-for-12 from the field. Sophomore forward Kyle Gullett had an electric second half, scoring 20 of his 22 points in the final period while matching Theobald with 9-for-12 shooting from the floor.
By securing the win, Hanover improved to 11-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and 16-3 overall, moving into a first-place tie with Mt. St. Joseph in the conference standings. The Pioneers dropped to 8-5 in HCAC play, and 13-7 overall.
Hanover used a sharp first half of offense to take a 43-28 halftime lead. Fails sent in 4-of-6 three-point salvos to lead the charge for Hanover.
In the second half, the Pioneers used a 7-0 run to open up proceedings and immediately cut Hanover's lead in half. Gullett began creating shots all over the floor, hitting threes and post-up jumpers to push the Pioneers back into the game.
Midway through the second half, the Pioneers went on a 17-6 run to jump back into the game. Gullett hit a jumper at the 7:33 mark of the second half for Transylvania's first lead of the night.
The Pioneers went up by three points, but Hanover responded with a mini-run to take a four-point lead with 2:32 remaining in the contest.
Trailing 68-64, Theobald began taking over the final moments, intent on carrying the Pioneers to victory. The guard buried a left-wing three with 48 seconds remaining to cut Hanover's lead to 68-67. The Pioneers induced the Panthers into a shot-clock violation on the following possession to gain the ball with 13 seconds left. Theobald came down and adeptly buried a pull-up jumper from the elbow, but Hanover's eight remaining seconds would prove to be plenty of time for its second dose of drama against the Pioneers.
Transylvania will aim for redemption on Saturday as they visit the Bluffton University Beavers. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m. at the Sommer Center.
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