CINCINNATI, Ohio – Though it took two weeks to complete game play, Transylvania men's basketball came back from a two-point deficit to defeat Wilmington College 81-76 in Sunday's second half finale.
"This team continues to improve and gain confidence in each other," said Head Coach Brian Lane. "We learned from the mistakes we made in some earlier games and today came up big against a very good Wilmington team."
Wilmington is coming off two exceptional wins, including an upset over Miami-Ohio, notching the first time a Division III school has beaten a DI opponent in three years.
The first half on Nov. 17 was suspended at the half due to poor floor conditions at the Mount St. Joseph Tip-Off Tournament. Despite the slippery floor, the Pioneers battled to stay afloat, with seven players contributing in scoring.
Sophomore forward Parker Stansberry led in scoring with eight points each, followed by freshman guard Ethan Row with five and sophomore Joe Jennings with four.
The Quakers outshot the Pioneers in the first, as Transylvania netted only 36 percent from the field and 58 percent from foul line in the first half while committing nine turnovers. But, the Pioneers managed a rebounding and three point advantage, grabbing 22 rebounds and shooting 31 percent to the Quakers' 18 percent. The back-and-forth scoring of the first half concluded with the Quakers leading by two, 34-32.
The second half saw quite a different Pioneer team than two weeks prior.
The Pioneers put on the pressure early, with Jennings netting the first three points of the finale. The Quakers mounted a comeback, leading by eight, 51-43, before Transylvania made their move.
In the next four minutes, the Pioneers mounted a 13-0 run, thanks to a pair of jump shots by Stansberry, Jones and a 3-point jumper by freshman Alex Jones. The run gave Transylvania a 56-51 lead that the Quakers wouldn't be able to overcome.
"We shot the ball extremely well and played with poise after getting down early," said Coach Lane. "We did not panic and instead went to a nice run where we were getting key stops and hitting crucial shots."
Coach Lane noted the "terrific" second halves by freshmen Logan Wade and Alex Jones, who each notched double-figures, 20 and 11, respectively after netting only three each in the first half.
Freshman Mason Monroe was the third leading scorer with six points, followed by Jennings (5), Stansberry (4), and Rowe (3). The Pioneers also nearly doubled their field goal percentage, going 65 percent from the floor, and increased their free throw percentage to 83 percent.
"Playing with four freshman a majority of the 20 minute game, we were able to handle Wilmington's full court pressure," said Coach Lane. The effort was noticeable as the team recorded only seven second-half turnovers, cutting down from their double-digit turnovers recorded in halves up to the point this season.
"It's a crazy way to get our first win of the season," said Coach Lane. "We have a quick turnaround as we jump into the HCAC against a very good Mount St. Joseph team."
The Pioneers look to continue a winning streak at home facing their first Heartland Conference opponent of the season on Wednesday, December 4 against Mount St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m.