LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Pioneers fell Wednesday night to stellar perimeter shooting from Mount St. Joseph, 87-70 in the HCAC opener.
Leading the way for the Pioneers was freshman guard Mason Monroe who put up 18 points, two assists, and a rebound. His play kept the Pioneers within striking distance for most of the game until the Lions of Mount St. Joseph pulled away in the middle of the second half. Coaching the lions was Toby Carrigan who had served as an assistant coach to Head Coach Brian Lane for eight years.
At the tip you could see how the experience leaned in Mount's favor. They began the game on 18-4 run before Coach Lane made his adjustments.
"They really did a nice job in the first five minutes of the game taking control. I thought for one of the first times all year we really looked out of sorts and very uncomfortable offensively, " said Coach Lane.
After these adjustments, the young Pioneer talent showed, keeping them within a couple possessions of tying the game up for most of the first half.
Near the end of the first half, the Pioneers closed the gap nearly-to single digits in large part to the 15 first-half points by Monroe.
"Mason Monroe again provided a big spark offensively when we were struggling to get baskets," said Coach Lane. Monroe fouled out late in the second half and finished shooting 9-10 from the charity stripe, 1-1 from the perimeter, and 4-6 from the field.
Also contributing to keeping the game manageable was freshman guard Alex Jones who had a great block near the end of the first half. Jones played all but three minutes of the first half and grabbed a third of the Pioneers' nine first half rebounds.
Just like the first half, the Lions broke out to an early run but were brought back in by the Pioneers. After leading by fifteen at the half, they extended the lead to nearly thirty. But, the Pioneers didn't relent.
Coming off the bench was freshman guard Ethan Rowe who seemed to be the spark the Pioneers had needed all game. He tallied 13 points in thirteen minutes, all in the second half.
Also scoring in the double digits was sophomore forward Parker Stansberry who scored 10 points and grabbed a team-leading five rebounds. Stansberry's best points of the night came on a great face-up three pointer from the far corner.
Although there were many instances of talent and skill that showed through, it was the lack of experience that hindered mounting a successful comeback. Every time the Pioneers would make a run, the Lions would answer with a clutch three or momentum shifting lay-up.
"I thought we had several possessions where we did not get very good shots and against a high-caliber team like Mount St. Joseph you can't afford to come up empty many times," said Coach Lane.
The Pioneers' schedule does not ease up with preseason number one, Rose-Hulman, coming to Lexington this Saturday, December 7 at 3 p.m. as part of a double-header with Transylvania women's basketball playing at 1 p.m..