LEXINGTON, Ky. - Key defensive stops and great ball movement allowed Transylvania to hold off the Spartans' attack. Leading the way in this 67-63 victory was freshman guard Garrett Dorfman who had 17 points, 5 three pointers, 3 rebounds and an assist in his second game back.
"Terrific passing led to a season high 16 assists in what was a nice balanced scoring attack (five players in double digits)," noted Head Coach Brian Lane after tonight's victory.
This game started out very slow with defensive pressure forcing uncomfortable and difficult shots. The Pioneers opened well and held a lead early thanks to back to back three pointers from Dorfman.
"Garrett had a terrific game and seems to be getting his "game legs" back after his surgery," noted Coach Lane.
Midway through the first half however, the Spartans of Manchester tied the game up at 15 with 9:30 to go. Breaking the tie and shifting momentum was freshman guard Mason Monroe who sank one of his two three pointers for the game.
Keeping momentum and the lead going into the break was a key focus for the team this game and to do that Coach Lane had to make some tough calls such as keeping sophomore forward, and team leading scorer, Parker Stansberry in the game despite having two fouls with over six minutes left to play. These decisions plus a great three by Dorfman as time expired helped keep the Pioneers up 35-28 at the half.
"Manchester was coming off a really good win on the road at Franklin so we knew they would come in and play with a great deal of confidence," noted Coach Lane about staying confident and playing to win.
The second half storyline followed much of the same trends. The Pioneers were faced with many difficult offensive possessions where they needed to and did come up with big baskets and defensive stops.
"We really emphasized not giving up three pointers in the second half and it was one of our better defensive efforts in that regard," noted Coach Lane.
The biggest basket of the game was freshman guard Ethan Rowe's three pointer with 1:45 left. Rowe's three helped propel the Pioneers back into the lead after facing their first deficit of the game, 62-63 with 2:50 remaining.
Following this basket the Pioneers made critical defensive stops while also grabbing important rebounds that ultimately led to their victory that was sealed with Dorfman's two free throws with seconds remaining.
Contributing well for the Pioneers was big man Parker Stansberry who finished the night with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Joining Stansberry and Dorfman in double figures was Rowe with 11, Monroe with 12 and sophomore center Joe Jennings with 12 points.
"It was nice to see Joe have one of his better games and he played terrific defense without fouling," noted Coach Lane.
To go along with his 12 points, Jennings tallied a game high 9 rebounds to go along with a block and two steals. Jennings' continued improvement and vocal leadership on the court have proven to be a key in the Pioneers' wins.
The Pioneers will play their next game Wednesday, January, 15 at Earlham at 7:30p.m..