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Transy basketball's 9-17 season ends with one-point loss at Mount St. Joseph

Transylvania men’s basketball’s season came to an end Tuesday evening, as they fell 75-54 on the road to the Mount St. Joseph Lions in the first round of the Heartland Conference tournament.


“We were beat by a veteran team tonight,” coach Brian Lane said. Despite the loss, Lane shares that he has seen great growth from his young squad since the opening games of the season, a goal which the team had set for itself. “We talked earlier in the season about improving every single day, and we did just that.”


Sophomore Parker Stansberry led the Pioneers in scoring, narrowly missing a double-double, by notching 17 points and eight rebounds. Stansberry went 6-of-13 from the field and netted three from behind the arc. Freshmen Alex Jones and Garrett Dorfman followed in scoring, recording 10 and eight points, respectively. Sophomore Joe Jennings dominated on the glass for Transylvania, grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds.


The opening three minutes of play proved to be indicative of the pace of the contest, as the Lions’ Ken Kunkel nailed three quick three-pointers to lead by the 17:47 mark, 9-2, resulting in a quick timeout by Head Coach Brian Lane.


A new Pioneer squad emerged from the break, with Jennings leading the way.


A missed jumper, rebound, and resulting layup by Jennings sparked the team’s effort, sending them on a 6-2 run to bring the matchup within two, 10-8. The hot-shooting Lions continued to match the Pioneers point-for-point, eventually leading by six after a netted free throw attempt by Femi Thompson.


Though down early multiple times this season, the Pioneers maintained composure, following up seconds later with a long 3-pointer by Dorfman and a layup by Stansberry to bring them within one, 18-17. With seven minutes remaining in the first, Transylvania snagged their first lead of the night off a layup by Jones in the paint. The fragile one-point lead would last less than a minute, when a layup by Kunkel would put the Lions back on top.


Down one with five minutes remaining in the first, it was Jones who helped the Pioneers mount a comeback to regain the lead. Jones netted a critical three-point-play off a layup and a bonus shot to result in a two-point Transylvania advantage, 27-25.


The Lions’ pesky aggressive defense forced a turnover by freshman point guard Mason Monroe at the 45 second mark, jump starting the Lions scoring. The team went on a 10-2 run, leaving the Pioneers trailing at the half, 35-30.


Two quick free throws out of the halftime gave the Mount a seven-point lead, 37-30 with 18 minutes to play. But, Transylvania connected on an easy jumper and layup to bring them back within three.


The following five minutes would prove to be crucial, as the Mount stretched their advantage to nine at the 15-minute mark. Though Transylvania responded with a pair of treys by Stansberry, the Mount did the same. Three back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers by three different Lions pushed the Mount to their first two-point advantage of the night, 54-40.


Once hitting those double-digits, the Pioneers were out of reach. Despite multiple attempts to cut the Mount’s cushion back to single digits, Transylvania was unable to rally. The Mount would stretch their lead to a game-high 21 points at the 5-minute mark, which would wane only slightly, before solidifying at the buzzer, 75-54.


The Lions forced 15 Transylvania turnovers, 10 alone in the second half, and recorded 10 steals, resulting in 22 points off turnovers for the Lions.


Though the Pioneers amassed the largest rebounding total since Jan. 29, it couldn’t match the Lions. The Mount grabbed 45 rebounds to the Pioneers’ 34, helping them on their way 16 second-chance points.


For the first time in several games, the scoring balance weighed heavily on Transylvania’s starters, as only two Pioneer bench players contributed a total of eight points to the score.


The season has been a learning experience for Coach Lane’s freshman-heavy team, an experience which he expects will prepare them well for their 2014-15 campaign.


“Our young guys now should have a very good idea of the intensity level you have to play at to compete in the upper eschelon of the always-difficult HCAC,” he said.


With the victory, the Lions to the HCAC Semifinals against Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind. on Saturday.


From Transylvania Athletics.

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