Pioneers men’s basketball upended at Bluffton in overtime battle

Pioneers men’s basketball upended at Bluffton in overtime battle

Bluffton, Ohio – The Transylvania men's basketball team's 56.7 percent shooting from the field was not enough to outlast the Bluffton University Beavers on Saturday at the Sommer Center as the Pioneers endured a 100-96 overtime defeat.

The result dropped the Pioneers to 13-8 overall, and 8-6 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with four games remaining on the conference schedule.

The Beavers exacted a measure of revenge against the Pioneers, who had won their first meeting of the season in early December in Lexington by a decisive 83-60 final. Saturday's affair featured high-flying offense for both sides, with the first team to 100 coming out victorious.

The Pioneers were led in scoring on the afternoon by sophomore forward Kyle Gullett, who provided 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the floor to go with four rebounds and two blocks.

Sophomore Bo Schuh had his best performance of the season, coming off the bench to score a season-high 20 points along with 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the 2016-17 campaign. Senior guard Alex Jones tallied 21 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while sophomore point guard Cooper Theobald was the other Pioneer to register double-digit scoring with 15 points.

The first half featured nonstop hot shooting between the Pioneers and the Beavers, as Transylvania shot 16-for-24 from the field (67 percent) while Bluffton went 18-for-30 on field goals. Bluffton's 6-for-9 shooting from behind the arc in the first half provided the upper hand as the Beavs carried a 48-40 advantage to the locker room.

Early in the second half, the Beavers expanded their lead to 10 before the Pioneers began their climb back into the game. Jones began finding his offense to pull the Pioneers within four, before the Beavers embarked upon another run to grow a 14-point lead with under nine minutes to go in regulation.

The Pioneers spent the rest of regulation whittling away at the Bluffton advantage, relying on a steady dose of clutch shots from Gullett on the inside and Jones from the free-throw line and perimeter. The Pioneers outscored Bluffton 23-9 the rest of the way in regulation to complete the comeback.

Transylvania still trailed by five points with under two minutes to go when Schuh knocked down a right-side three-pointer on a pick and roll play to pull Transylvania within two at 84-82. A layup from freshman Gabe Schmitt tied the game at 84-all with 53 seconds remaining.

The Pioneers forced a stop and had one last chance to score a game-winning shot in regulation, but Jones's long-range jumper went off the side of the rim and the game moved into overtime.

With 3:48 remaining in overtime, Bluffton broke an 88-88 tie and pulled away for good. Jones hit a jumper with 1:55 left in the extra session to cut Bluffton's lead to 94-92, but Bluffton came down and drew a foul, knocking down two more free throws for a 96-92 advantage. Gullett's putback tip-in with six seconds remaining drew Transy within two, but Bluffton hit two more free throws to get to triple digits and secure the win.

Bluffton won the assist category by plus-six, and also knocked down nine 3-pointers compared to seven made 3-balls for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers will try to rebound next Wednesday, February 8 when they host the Mt. St. Joseph Lions at the Beck Center in Lexington. Tipoff between the Lions and Pioneers is set for 7:30 p.m.

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