February 13, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Transylvania fell behind Mt. St. Joseph by as many as 12 points Wednesday before roaring back in the second half to post a 77-73 win over the Lions in Heartland Conference men's basketball action at the Beck Center.
The Pioneers (14-8 overall, 9-4 HCAC) began play in second place in the HCAC race, two games behind Defiance and one ahead of Anderson, Franklin, and Hanover. Mt. St. Joseph falls to 9-14, 3-11 HCAC. Defiance defeated Manchester in overtime and leads the HCAC by two games with three to play.
The win did, however, assure the Pioneers of a spot in the HCAC tournament at the end of the month. The first- and second-place teams receive first-round byes into the semifinals while the third- and fourth-place squads host No. 5 and 6 in first round games.
Transy trailed MSJ by 12, 31-19, with 5:28 left in the first half and was still behind 35-26 at intermission while shooting just 39.3 percent for the period. The Lions were the hot team in the first half, shooting at a 57.7 percent clip (15 of 26) and getting 15 points from Michael Eirons.
Eirons cooled off with the rest of his teammates over the final 20 minutes. He scored seven in the second half to lead all scorers with 22. While Transy canned 13 of 21 second-half shots (61.9 percent), MSJ mustered only 12 of 29 for 41.4 percent.
Joey Verax had 12 of his 18 points in the second half and his three-point shooting keyed Transy's comeback. He also finished with 10 rebounds and two assists. Tim Tierney scored 16 points and Blake McCowan added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Matthew Parton and Aaron Cash were also in double figures with 12 and11 points, respectively.
Transy took its first lead of the game on Parton's three with 8:48 to go, making it 54-52.
Another Parton trey made it 68-59 with 2:45 to play and would be Transy's final score from the field. The Pioneers were nine of 16 from the free throw line down the stretch and 17 of 25 for the half.
Transy will try to pull closer to first place in the HCAC Saturday when it travels to conference leading Defiance for a 3 p.m. contest.