North Manchester, Ind. – The Transylvania men's basketball team was outpaced 93-66 by the Manchester University Spartans in its 2016-17 regular season finale Saturday at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena.
Despite the Saturday setback for the Pioneers, Transylvania remains firmly entrenched in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament picture.
The Pioneers completed their season with an overall record of 16-9, and 11-7 in HCAC play, slotting them fifth in the conference standings, one game back of No. 4 seed Rose-Hulman. The Pioneers will face Rose-Hulman in next Friday's HCAC Tournament first-round matchup in Hanover, Indiana.
Manchester picked up the final seed in the tournament and christened their entry into the tournament with a triumphant Senior Day win against the Pioneers at home. The Spartans jumped out to a 15-6 start and for the most part never looked back against the Pioneers. Transylvania whittled away at the lead numerous times the rest of the half, but another late run by the Spartans inside the two-minute mark crafted a 43-35 halftime advantage.
Manchester continued the attack in the second half, outscoring Transylvania 50 to 31 as its offense was in high gear. Transylvania was held to 8-for-23 shooting from the field in the second half, and missed 14 of 27 free throws in the second half which stood as a barrier to a comeback.
The Pioneers were led in scoring on the afternoon by sophomore guard Cooper Theobald who registered 16 points to go with six rebounds, one assist, and one block. The Pioneers received 26 points off the bench, led by freshman reserve forward Zachary Pulliam with nine points.
Senior guard Alex Jones added 10 points, and now sits 27 points away from becoming the 17th Pioneer in school history to score 1,500 points.
With the regular season campaign wrapped up, the Pioneers will now focus their attention to the HCAC Tournament, which begins next Friday.
The trek begins with a matchup against Rose-Hulman, with whom the Pioneers split the season series, each team winning at the other's gym. The third meeting of the season between the Fightin' Engineers and Pioneers will occur at a neutral site on the campus of No. 1 seed and host Hanover College.
The three-day tournament culminates in a Sunday 2:00 p.m. championship game as the Pioneers aim to clinch their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2013.
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