Cincinnati, Ohio – The Transylvania men's basketball team finished off opening weekend of the 2019-20 season with back-to-back wins after defeating the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears 65-62 at the Harrington Center on the campus of Mount St. Joseph University on Saturday afternoon.
For the second straight day, Gabe Schmitt led the Pioneers in the scoring column with 16 points off an efficient 6-for-7 shooting performance from the floor to lead the Pioneers to their first 2-0 start in two years.
Ohio Northern suffered its first loss of the year against the Pioneers to fall to 1-1 overall.
The Pioneers built a 15-point lead early in the second half before the Polar Bears spent the rest of the afternoon whittling away at the lead. While the Polar Bears cut Transylvania's lead to two points with 7:18 left in the game, the Transy defense limited Ohio Northern to just 39.3 percent shooting for the game to hold on for a defensive win while shooting 59.1 percent from the floor themselves.
Luke Schroeder posted 12 points for Transylvania, matching Schmitt's 6-for-7 outing from the field in 22 minutes of work. Zach Larimore had an all-around performance with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and one assist while shooting 4-for-7 from the field.
The Pioneers grew a 7-5 lead by embarking on a 13-5 run midway through the first half to build a 20-10 advantage on the Polar Bears. Schroeder scored on a pair of inside buckets to bring the Pioneers to a 24-16 advantage with 8:38 remaining in the first half.
Dominique Turner caught fire on a pair of buckets inside four minutes to go in the first half while Schmitt knocked down a free throw and a jumper to send the Pioneers into halftime with a 39-27 lead.
Schmitt continued his shooting exploits with a trey out of the gate, giving the Pioneers their largest lead of the game at 42-27, 10 seconds fresh into the second half. The Polar Bears cut Transy's lead to five with 13:36 left in the second half, but Lucas Gentry responded with a pair of free throws and Schroeder hit again to give the Pioneers a 52-44 cushion at the midway point of the second half.
Ohio Northern scored on a three-point play to slice Transylvania's lead to 52-48 but Schroeder continued to score consistently and Michael Jefferson knocked down a jumper to keep the Pioneers ahead.
The Polar Bears' Brandon Waugh hit a three-pointer with 7:18 left, cutting the Pioneer advantage to 56-54, but Gentry led the Pioneers on a 7-0 run on a threeball and a layup to give the Pioneers a nine-point lead with 3:37 to go.
Ohio Northern made one final charge, pulling within three of Transy at 63-60 with 1:19 left on a Landen Long jumper, but Schmitt answered back with a clutch basket with 56 seconds remaining for a 65-60 Transylvania lead.
Waugh scored one more time, bringing Ohio Northern within three points of the Pioneers. After Larimore was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one with eight seconds left, Waugh tried to create an open three, but Transylvania's defense shrouded his best efforts and the Pioneers held on for the win.
Transylvania next plays on Friday, November 15 in its 2019-20 home opener versus the Emory & Henry College Wasps at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington. Next Friday's tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.
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