Lexington, Ky. – Senior guard Cooper Theobald commenced his final collegiate campaign with a game-high 24 points as the Transylvania men's basketball team tipped off its season officially on Friday evening at the Beck Center with a 74-66 victory against the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders.
On a night in which the Pioneers attacked the rack and were consistently rewarded with trips to the free throw line, Transylvania struggled to cash in on its charity tosses before erupting on a late 12-3 to pull ahead and away from Mount Union on opening night.
Transylvania won its third consecutive season opener with Friday's victory.
The Pioneers came out firing at home and looked sharp from the floor as they shot 48 percent from the field in the first half. Mount Union stayed in the game by hitting 16 of 35 field goal attempts as the Raiders registered 10 more field-goal attempts between forcing 13 first-half Transy turnovers and many of the Pioneer possessions ending at the free throw line.
More than half of Transylvania's trips to the foul line ended in vain as the Pioneers shot just 8-for-17 from the free-throw line in the first half. The Raiders went on a late run to claim a 40-36 lead at the break.
The Pioneers opened up the second half with more precision and continued to attack and find trips to the free-throw line, finishing with 25 free-throw attempts in the second half. For the night, Transylvania shot 26-for-42 from the foul line.
Theobald keyed the mode of attack, finishing with nine makes on 17 attempts. The Division III record-holder for single-game free throw attempts finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and one steal.
Midway through the second half, the Pioneers collected a series of key stops off of 10 team steals, and running the Raiders off of the three-point line. When the Raiders did elect for the long jumper, they struggled, shooting just 4-for-23 from outside.
The Pioneers began to connect consistently at the free-throw line as the game wound down, while their defense lifted them to victory. Transy scored 32 points off turnovers for the evening as they drew 34 fouls to Mount Union's 19.
Junior guard Gabe Schmitt was Transylvania's other double-digit scorer with 12 points on the night.
Transylvania returns to play on Tuesday, November 13 as the Pioneers visit Emory and Henry University in Emory, Virginia.
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