North Manchester, Ind. – Trailing by 14 points midway through the second half, the Transylvania men's basketball team staged a ferocious comeback en route to an 85-84 victory over the Manchester University Spartans at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The win elevates Transylvania's record to 15-6 overall, and 9-4 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with just four games remaining in the regular season.
With the loss, Manchester falls to 5-16 overall and 3-10 in the HCAC.
Bench play was huge for the Pioneers, whose reserves outscored the Spartan's bench 44-15. The surge was led by junior guard Kyle Gullett, who scored 18 points in 23 minutes of action.
Senior center Robert Dence turned in a big-time performance that included 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds, one block, and one assist.
Transylvania suffered through a frustrating first half in which they turned the ball over eight times while allowing Manchester to shoot 49 percent from the field, leading to a 44-39 advantage for the Spartans at halftime.
Early in the second half, it appeared as if Manchester would prevail over the Pioneers, as the deficit grew to 57-43 with 14:06 remaining in the game.
Not to be deterred, the Pioneers began to slowly chip away at the Spartans lead. With just under four minutes left to play, freshman guard Devin Twenty buried a clutch three-pointer to even the score at 77-77.
Then with 43 seconds left to play, Twenty knocked down yet another three-pointer, this time giving the Pioneers an 84-82 advantage.
After a Manchester basket tied the game at 84-84 the Transylvania went back on the attack as Jefferson drove towards the basket and was fouled.
With the game tied and just eight seconds left on the clock, Jefferson went to the free-throw line and knocked down the go-ahead free-throw, sealing the 85-84 victory for the Pioneers.
Up next, Transylvania will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to face the Mount St. Joseph Lions on Wednesday, February 7. The Lions are currently tied with Hanover for second place in the HCAC standings just ahead of Transylvania. Tipoff between the Lions and the Pioneers is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Harrington Center.
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