Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's basketball team suffered a 76-66 setback to the Hanover College Panthers on Wednesday evening at the Beck Center in a clash of two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals.
Junior guard Gabe Schmitt scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and was matched in the scoring column by sophomore guard Michael Jefferson and his 18 points on 7 for 9 shooting from the field, but the Pioneers could not contend with the efficient second-half offense of the Panthers, who executed down the stretch to move to 9-2 in conference play and 14-4 overall. Transylvania dropped to 10-8 overall and 7-4 in conference play.
Both teams came out firing but struggled from the floor in a fast-paced game with stout defense. The Pioneers mustered only 1 for 10 shooting from behind the arc while the Panthers toiled similarly from outside, knocking down just 2 of their 14 three-point attempts.
The two-pronged attack of Jefferson in transition and freshman Luke Schroeder and his six first-half interior points kept the Pioneers within striking range of the Panthers, as Transy trailed 31-25 at the half.
Hanover used an early procession to the free throw line in the second half to assume a 40-32 lead. The Pioneers earned their first free throw of the game at the 16:37 mark of the second period to stem the Hanover run and begin one of their own.
Schmitt and Jefferson went on the attack to cut Hanover's lead to 45-42 with 13:09 left in the second half and stayed within three points, slicing Hanover's advantage to 53-50 with seven and a half minutes remaining in regulation.
The Panther execution down the stretch was precise as they fought for a series of close-range layups and free throw conversions to create a 69-57 advantage with under two minutes to go. The Pioneers cut the deficit to nine, but Hanover was able to break the press with consistency to clinch the win.
Transylvania returns to action on Saturday in the second game of a women's-men's doubleheader as both teams host the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers at the Beck Center. The men's matchup is slated for a 3:00 p.m. start.
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