CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.—The Transylvania University men's basketball team dropped a nonconference matchup with the homestanding Thomas More College Saints on Wednesday, 74-73. The Pioneers stormed back to take the lead near the midpoint of the second half but two late free throws from the Saints handed Transy the defeat.
The Pioneers entered the second half trailing by five points, 38-33 and saw the Saints extend their lead with a three-point jumper to open the final period. Forward Tim Bickel made a layup on Transylvania's first possession of the half, followed by a three-pointer from forward Parker Stansberry and a layup from guard Alex Jones, helping Transy cut the Saints' lead to just one point, 44-43, at the 16:32 mark.
Thomas More pushed their lead back to eight points just two minutes later but again the Pioneers battled back and took the lead with 8:13 to play in the final period. Transylvania went on a 15-5 run over a six minute stretch, highlighted by a layup from Bickel to knot the score at 56 and a jumper from Jones on the Pioneers' next possession to take the lead. The Saints would come down the court and make a jump shot to even the score but forward Bo Schuh broke that tie with a deep shot from behind the arc to propel Transy to a 61-58 lead.
The teams would go back and forth for several minutes but the Pioneers steadily built their lead, relying on good jump shooting and stout defense to build their lead to as many as seven points. Guard Lowell Gordon and Stansberry each knocked down three-pointers of their own and Stansberry added another midrange jumper as Transylvania took a 69-62 lead with 3:42 left in the game.
The Pioneers nearly held on for the win but Thomas More knocked down two threes to cut the Transy lead to one with 56 seconds to play. With 27 seconds left in the contest, Bickel missed a layup and the Saints called a timeout after grabbing the rebound. With nine seconds to play, Thomas More drove to the basket and drew a foul on Schuh to go to the free throw line, where Daniel Williams knocked down both free throws to put the Saints on top. Transylvania was unable to get a shot up on their final possession after a turnover by Jones.
In the first half, the Pioneers battled with the Saints but were unable to keep pace with the hot shooting of Thomas More, who made 61 percent (14-23) of their field goal attempts, including five three-pointers. The teams traded points in the early going and with 14:43 to play in the opening frame, guard Cooper Theobald knocked down a jumper to give Transy a 13-11 lead. Thomas More grabbed the lead two minutes later after baskets on back to back possessions and the Pioneers played from behind for the remainder of the half.
Five Pioneers scored in double figures, led by 15 points from Stansberry. Theobald added 13 and Schuh, Bickel and Gordon each recorded 13 points. Gordon recorded a season-high in minutes and points after shooting 57 percent (4-7) from behind the arc. Transylvania outrebounded the Saints 28-22, led by eight boards from Theobald. Jones dished out a game-high five assists and score nine points for the Pioneers.
The contest was the final nonconference game for the Pioneers on the season. They will return to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday with a road trip to Rose-Hulman. That game is scheduled to tip at 3:00pm.