LEXINGTON, Ky.- Shooting 9-18 from beyond the three point arc helps the Pioneers come back big late in the second half to force overtime and a loss for Bluffton 97-91. Leading the way both as the game leading scorer and rebounder was sophomore forward Parker Stansberry who totaled 30 points, shooting 4-7 from three point land, nine rebounds, two blocks, an assist, and a steal in 43 minutes of play.
Starting for the Pioneers this game was a new unit of men comprised of freshman guard Mason Monroe, Stansberry, freshman guard Garrett Dorfman, sophomore center Joe Jennings, and now freshman forward Robert Igo. This was likely a coaching move to work on performing well inside the paint to compliment and open up the perimeter shooters.
This strategy worked well throughout the game on the offensive end and helped the Pioneers make nine three pointers and have great post play from players like Jennings and Stansberry. Jennings finished the night with 14 points, and five rebounds in 30 minutes of play. Also helping this attack was Dorfman who sank 2-4 from beyond the arc, Dorfman finished the night with 12 points.
This style of play worked well for the Pioneers for most of the first half and had them sitting on a game high 11 point lead with 12:20 to go in the first. Despite this large lead Bluffton slowly clawed their way back as both teams exchanged offensive baskets that found them tied at 37 at the break.
The second half however was more in favor of Bluffton who had seemed to had figured out the defensive pressure that would benefit them most. This defensive pressure and a low post offensive attack slowly gave them a 10 point lead with only 4:11 remaining in the game.
To close the gap the Transylvania coaching staff made the necessary adjustments defensively that were complimented by good offensive plays by the whole team. Down the stretch many plays were made by the Pioneers but the two biggest were junior guard Tommy Sirkin's steal and assist to tie the game up at 73 and later freshman guard Ethan Rowe's three pointer with under four seconds on the clock to force overtime.
In overtime it was all the Pioneers. The Pioneers played very confident and were making shots from all over the court. The Pioneers quickly jumped out to a lead after exchanging fouls and never looked back. The last of these big shots was a three pointer from the bench side by freshman guard Logan Wade.
The Pioneers now sit 4-4 in conference thanks to this three game win streak. This win streak illustrates how the Pioneers continue to improve their record with different players taking on more roles and performing statically at a higher level.
The Pioneers will lace up their shoes next this Wednesday, January 22nd when they visit Franklin College at 7:30 p.m..