LEXINGTON, Ky. - Transylvania greeted the New Year Wednesday with a strong defensive effort and used a big second-half run to overpower Spalding 72-49 in a non-conference men's basketball matchup at the Beck Center.
Transy, which snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the first time since Dec. 8, improved to 6-4 on the year while Spalding falls to 5-10. It was the first appearance by the Pioneers since losing to Centre 13 days ago preceeding a long holiday break.
The Pioneers led by just six, 32-26, at intermission before jumping all over the Golden Eagles in the second half. After a Jamal Bacon layup cut Transy's lead to five, 36-31, Spalding went nearly six minutes without a point. By the time Chris Williams canned one of two free throws with 10:16 to play, the Pioneers led by 17, 49-32. A three by Stephen Gabbard increased the margin to 20, 52-32, and Transy coasted the rest of the way.
Joey Verax led the Pioneers with 13 points and six rebounds, but he was the only player in double figures. But 11 other Pioneers scored with Greg Finch, Matthew Martin, Corey Kottak, and Scott Bauman each scoring his first collegiate points.
Martin had a career high eight points and five rebounds while Parton and Aaron Cash each scored eight. Gabbard finished with seven points as did Tim Tierney. Brock Jones had three points and seven rebounds as Transy outrebounded the visitors, 39-35.
Transy shot 38.4 percent for the game (28 of 73), getting 26 more attempts than the Eagles. Spalding shot 36 percent for the game and 32 percent (nine of 28) in the second half. Spalding also had 23 turnovers compared to nine for the Pioneers.
Bacon hit six of nine shots, including four of six from three-point range, and led Spalding with 16 points. Williams finished with eight.
Transy will take a 2-0 Heartland Conference record into its next contest, an HCAC game on Saturday at Rose-Hulman at 3 p.m.