Lexington, Ky. – Using a blistering 23-4 run to begin the second half, the Transylvania men’s basketball team delivered a 74-56 victory against the Mount St. Joseph University Lions Wednesday evening at the Beck Center.
The critical win vaulted the Pioneers to 14-8 overall, and 11-4 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play to maintain a share of second place with Rose-Hulman in the standings with three games remaining in the regular season.
Transylvania exacted a measure of revenge on Wednesday in its second meeting of the year against its HCAC rival after Mount St. Joseph prevailed in the first meeting of the season, 65-62 on January 9 in Cincinnati. After a conservative offensive start in the first half for the Pioneers, Transylvania blasted out of the halftime gate on an 8-0 run to quickly put the game out of reach.
Junior guard Gabe Schmitt and sophomore guard Will Sivills led the way with 15 points apiece as each efficiently torched the nets.
The 15-point output for Sivills was a career-high as he also set single-game career bests in field-goal shooting (6-6 FG) and 3-point shooting (3-3 3-pt FG). Schmitt was one of five Pioneers who shot 50 percent or better from the field among teammates who took a minimum of five attempts on the evening, as he hit 6 of 9 field goals and knocked down 3 of 6 three-point attempts.
The first half contained tight movement between both teams as each felt out the game for their respective rhythm. The Pioneers surged to an early 10-4 lead before Mount St. Joseph battled back to take a 13-12 advantage. The Lions attacked the rim with moderate success on the way to a 23-17 upper hand, but Transylvania scored outscored the visitors 12-6 to tie up the half at 29-all.
The Pioneers began the second half on an all-out blitz, hitting on their first seven field goal attempts of the half to collect a 46-31 lead less than five minutes into the period. The Lions stopped Transylvania’s 17-4 run with an inside score, but Schmitt came back with a drive and senior forward Bo Schuh capped off a fast break with his second slam dunk of the night to raise the Pioneer advantage to 50-33.
Transylvania equaled its total scoring output from the first half within the first 11 minutes of the second half as the Lions never got closer than 16 points the rest of the evening.
Transylvania shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half as they ran away with the victory.
Schuh added another strong shooting performance to the box score, hitting on 5 of 6 shots to finish with 12 points, three assists, two rebounds, one block, and one steal. Sophomore guard Michael Jefferson finished 5 for 7 from the field on the way to 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Senior guard Cooper Theobald led the Pioneers with seven of the team’s 21 assists and also added seven points and five rebounds.
Sophomore forward Lucas Gentry added to the winning effort with a team-high seven rebounds and added eight points.
The evening also featured a piece of historic significance for 18th-year head coach Brian Lane, who collected his 291st career victory on Thursday. Between Lane and his predecessor and father, the legendary Don Lane, the sum of their head coaching win totals at Transylvania reached the 800-win mark on Thursday.
The Pioneers continue their schedule on Saturday, February 9 as they celebrate the careers of Schuh and Theobald with a Senior Day game versus HCAC opponent Defiance College. A senior day ceremony will precede an approximately 3:00 p.m. tip-off at the Beck Center.
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