Anderson, Ind. – Gabe Schmitt entered the 1,000-point club in heroic fashion on Saturday afternoon, scoring 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half to lead the Transylvania men's basketball team to an 85-80 win against the Anderson University Ravens at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
Schmitt shot 6 for 8 from three-point range to help the Pioneers erase a 17-point first-half deficit and climb out of a nine-point hole at halftime. Schmitt's shooting exhibition intensified in the second half to the tune of 4 for 5 connections from behind the arc to boost the Pioneers to their first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win this season.
The Pioneers improved to 1-1 in HCAC play and 4-2 overall while Anderson dropped to 0-1 in conference play and 2-5 overall.
Anderson enjoyed the first dose of momentum on the afternoon, climbing out to a 32-15 lead against the Pioneers as the Ravens caught fire from outside early. Anderson sank 6 of 14 three-point attempts in the first half. Luke Schroeder kept the Pioneers in the game with a flurry of inside finishes and free-throw makes.
The Pioneers displayed their resolve late in the first half as Spencer McKinney canned a three and Schmitt followed with his first triple of the game with 3:03 remaining in the first half, slicing Anderson's advantage to 35-23. Michael Jefferson fought his way to four straight points and Schmitt finished off the half with his second threeball to bring the Pioneers' deficit under double-digits at 43-34.
Transylvania carried over that momentum to the second half, unleashing an 8-0 run to create a new ballgame. Lucas Gentry, Jefferson, and Schroeder all capitalized with inside shots to close at 43-42 with the half just over two minutes old.
The teams continued to joust before Gentry tied up the contest at 51-51 at the 14:03 mark on a 3-pointer. Gentry put the Pioneers ahead two possessions later on another shot from long distance for a 54-51 lead.
Gentry then handed over long-range flamethrowing duties to Gabe Schmitt, who splashed home four 3-pointers within a three-minute span. Schmitt wrapped up the heat check with a midrange jumper to hand the Pioneers a 68-61 advantage with 8:21 left in regulation.
The second 3-pointer in the four-triple onslaught represented the 1,000th point of Schmitt's career as he became the 49th player in Transylvania men's basketball program history to hit quadruple digits for his career.
Anderson clawed back by relying on an inside power game to cut the Pioneer lead to 72-70 with less than six minutes to go in the second half. Michael Jefferson created breathing room for the Pioneers by contorting for a layup with 4:16 remaining.
Anderson climbed back to tie up matters at 74-all on a layup with 2:06 to go, but Gentry sank a clutch jumper on the next possession to retrieve the lead for Transy. After the Ravens missed a game-tying layup, Spencer McKinney scored on an offensive rebound to put the Pioneers ahead 78-74 with 35 seconds left.
Though Anderson cut the lead back to two points once more, the Pioneers put the ball in the hands of Schmitt who was fouled and hit two free throws down the stretch. Sivills, Gentry, and Schmitt banded together to make 5 of 6 foul shots the rest of the way to secure the win for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers shot a crimson-hot 62 percent from the floor in the second half, making 6 of 9 three-pointers to outscore Anderson 51-37 in the final period. Transylvania hit a season-high 10 three-pointers for a season-high 52.6 percent clip from downtown.
Schmitt added six rebounds and one assist in his career day, finishing with an effective field-goal percentage of 69 percent.
Schmitt led a group of four double-digit scorers as Gentry tallied 19 points and eight rebounds to go with one assist and one steal. Jefferson added 14 points, eight rebounds, and a game-high six assists while Schroeder finished with 11 points, four rebounds and one assist.
The Pioneers were relentless on the glass, outrebounding the Ravens 42 to 23.
Transylvania will break for fall semester finals before returning to play next Saturday, December 14 against the Manchester University Spartans in Lexington. The HCAC contest tips off at 2:00 p.m. at the Beck Center.
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