Pioneers men’s basketball commences 2017 HCAC Tournament Friday versus Rose-Hulman

Pioneers men’s basketball commences 2017 HCAC Tournament Friday versus Rose-Hulman

Hanover, Ind. – The postseason curtain rises on Friday evening for the Transylvania men's basketball team as it journeys to Hanover College for the first round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.

Transylvania enters Friday's 6:00 p.m. matchup against No. 4 seed Rose-Hulman at Hanover, the regular-season champion and weekend host for the three-round, six-team tournament.  

The Pioneers on Saturday completed a 16-9 overall season and an 11-7 run through the HCAC, good for fifth place in the conference standings and subsequently the No. 5 seed.

The Pioneers enter the postseason with momentum, having won three of their last four games. Transylvania and Rose-Hulman split their season series, 1-1, with each team winning at the other's building. Rose-Hulman won at the Beck Center on Saturday, December 17, 77-70. The Pioneers returned the favor at Rose-Hulman, winning 103-95 on January 21.

On the line for the Pioneers this weekend is a chance for the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the six-team joust will be awarded the automatic bid after Sunday afternoon's 2:00 p.m. championship game at Collier Arena.

The Pioneers are bidding for their first tournament championship since 2009, when the Pioneers defeated Franklin College, 76-72 behind the MVP performance of Blake McCowan.

This year's Pioneers squad is led by a balanced attack in sophomore guard Cooper Theobald and senior guard Alex Jones, who are averaging 16 and 15.9 points per game, respectively. Theobald also leads the team in rebounding with 6.4 caroms per contest while Jones leads the entire conference in assists with 5 assists per game.

Sophomore forward Kyle Gullett has brought the defensive provisions for Transylvania this season, leading the conference in blocks at 2.6 rejections per game.

Meanwhile, the Pioneers have put forth a balanced offense, with freshman guard Gabe Schmitt leading the way from outside. Schmitt currently ranks fifth in the HCAC in three-point percentage, shooting 46 percent from downtown.

The Pioneers as a whole have also relied on the 3-pointer as a critical component to their offense; Transylvania leads the HCAC in total threes on the year with 224 makes.

The winner of Friday night's game between Rose-Hulman and Transylvania will move on to play the No. 1 seed and host team, Hanover College at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in the HCAC Semifinals.

Ticket prices for Friday night's game at Hanover is $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, and $5 for students with no HCAC-school based student ID. Admission is free for students, faculty, and staff members of HCAC member schools who can present a school ID. Students under age 11 will also be admitted for free.

Live stats and video for all weekend's games are also available and displayed at the links above.

For more information on Transylvania men's basketball, follow @TransySports on Twitter