Lexington, Ky. – The ninth-annual Don Lane Classic presented by ECoach commences on Tuesday, December 18 and runs through Thursday, December 20 at the Clive M. Beck Center as the Transylvania men's basketball team hosts the three-day round-robin tournament.
Joining the Pioneers for the triplet of 5:00 p.m. Eastern time games spread over a three-day period are the Thomas More College Saints of Crestview Hills, Kentucky and the University of Chicago Maroons.
Transylvania tips off the tournament on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. versus Chicago, followed by a Wednesday matchup between Chicago and Thomas More. The Pioneers wrap up the Classic on Thursday with a Bluegrass battle against the Saints.
The presenting sponsor of this year's tournament is ECoach, which partners with the Don Lane Classic for the second consecutive season.
The annual event, which falls on the week before Christmas honors longtime Transylvania men's basketball coach, Don Lane, who oversaw the team from 1975 through 2001. The coaching legend has been on hand for each installment of the holiday classic and his son Brian is now in his 17th year at the helm of the Transylvania men's basketball team.
"We are looking forward to an exciting three days of basketball," commented Brian Lane. "Both the University of Chicago and Thomas More are having nice seasons so we are expecting three terrific games."
Transylvania enters this year's classic with a record of 5-4, having won four of its last five games.
All three games will be broadcast live via the Transy Sports Network with pregame coverage beginning at 4:50 p.m. each day. Tickets for each day are $7 for adults, and $5 for children ages 5-17 and senior citizens ages 65 and above. Children ages 4 and under are admitted for free.
Transylvania (6-5, 3-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference)
Leaders: Cooper Theobald, Sr., 12.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 52% FG, Devin Twenty, Soph., 10.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 39% FG, Gabe Schmitt, Jr., 10.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 42% FG, Michael Jefferson, Soph., 10.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 54% FG
After a 1-4 start to the season, the Pioneers are on their hottest stretch, winning three of their first four games of HCAC conference play. Transylvania is coming off a 93-56 win against conference opponent Anderson University, its largest margin of victory this season. The Pioneers outscored the Ravens 50-14 in the second half to hit its highest single-game scoring output this year.
The Pioneers have won the last two matchups with Thomas More, winning the most recent contest 88-72 on November 25, 2017. Junior guard Spencer McKinney scored a team-high 15 points as he hit 5 of 6 field goals.
Transylvania is averaging 27.7 made field goals per game, a mark which leads its conference. The Pioneers also stand atop the HCAC in blocks, led by freshman center Luke Schroeder's 1.4 bpg.
UChicago (5-3, 0-0 University Athletic Association)
Leaders: Noah Karras, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 3 rpg, 44% FG, 42% 3 pt FG, Jordan Baum, Jr., 7.3 rpg, 7 apg, 9.7 ppg, 1.9 spg, Ryan Jacobsen, Sr., 8.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 61% FG, Cole Schmitz, Jr., 8.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.9 apg
The Chicago Maroons are making their debut in the Don Lane Classic. Journeying to Lexington this week out of the vaunted University Athletic Association, the Maroons aim to improve upon their 13-12 campaign of a year ago.
Tuesday marks the second meeting ever between Chicago and Transylvania, with their lone previous meeting occurring during the 2007-2008 season, an 89-75 Maroons victory at Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
Junior guard Jordan Baum brings his playmaking ability to the Don Lane Classic; the junior ranks 7th in the country in assists per game and 21st nationaly in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.27 ast to 1 to).
High-scoring outputs have also served as a bellwether for the Maroons early in the season; Chicago is 4-0 on the year when scoring 82 points or more and is 1-3 when scoring 81 points or fewer.
Thomas More (6-5, 0-0 American Collegiate Athletic Association)
Leaders: Ryne Callahan, Sr., 13 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 46% FG, 49% 3 pt FG, Damion King, Sr., 11.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.1 apg, 41% FG, Ralph Stone, Sr., 11.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 51% FG
With a pending move to the NAIA for the upcoming 2019-2020 season, the Saints will visit the Don Lane Classic as part of their final season in NCAA Division III men's basketball. As part of a transitional year in which the Saints do not belong to a full conference, Thomas More's contests against Chicago and Transylvania will mark already its 12th and 13th games of the season as part of a stretch of 17 games before the new year.
Thomas More enters the week as winners of three of its last four games, highlighted by an 84-58 win against Emory & Henry on December 8.
Saints leading scorer, Ryne Callahan stands on the verge of some personal history as he enters Wednesday's game with Chicago at 995 career points. The senior posted a season-high 25 points in the win against Emory & Henry. This week's set of games continues a string of seven out of nine games away from home.
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