Transylvania men’s basketball vs. Northern Kentucky Game Preview: Pioneers tip-off preseason at Division I Norse on Wednesday

bb&t aRENA

GAME TIME: October 30, 2019, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time

LOCATION: BB&T Arena, Northern Kentucky University, Highlands Heights, Ky.

TICKETS: $14 adults, $9 youth ages 3-17, available for purchase online via Ticketmaster.com

MEDIA: NKU Radio (Fox Sports 1360 AM

LIVE STATS: (via NKU)

SERIES HISTORY: Transylvania leads 8-6 (6-1 vs NKU home, 2-5 road). The teams last played in a regular-season game on November 20, 1993, with Transylvania winning 99-91 in Highland Heights.  

 

Highland Heights, Ky. – An old in-state rivalry will be rekindled as the Transylvania men's basketball team christens its season for the second straight year with a preseason matchup against a Division I opponent on Wednesday, October 30 by visiting the Northern Kentucky University Norse at BB&T Arena for a 7:00 p.m. exhibition game.

The Pioneers will face the Norse for the first time since November 20, 1993, when the Pioneers competed in the NAIA Division II classification and the Norse competed under the purview of NCAA Division II. The Pioneers won the contest, 99-91.

Wednesday's exhibition meeting sets the stage for a showdown between the NCAA Division III Pioneers and the NCAA Division I Norse in Northern Kentucky as each team aims to capitalize upon their respective successful 2018-19 seasons; for the second time in three seasons, Northern Kentucky advanced into the NCAA Tournament while the Pioneers advanced to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game for the first time in seven years.

"We are excited for the opportunity to play in Northern Kentucky where we have so many alums," said Transylvania men's basketball head coach Brian Lane.

The Wednesday exhibition serves as a challenging tune-up before the Pioneers officially tip-off their season on Friday, November 8 against Wilmington (Ohio) College on the campus of Mount St. Joseph University in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio.

Wednesday's game will mark the first time the Pioneers have played in a basketball game at BB&T Arena. The last contest played between Transy and NKU in 1993 was held at Regents Hall on the NKU campus.

 

 

LAST SEASON

Transylvania (17-10 overall, 13-5 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference – 2nd place). The Pioneers blended together a talented roster to finish their 2018-2019 regular season by winning six of its final seven regular-season games, finishing the HCAC regular season in second place and clinching the No. 2 seed in the six-team HCAC Conference Tournament. The Pioneers rushed past Franklin College, 89-77 in the tournament semifinals before falling to tournament No. 1 seed Hanover College, 76-73 in a tightly-contested tournament championship game.

The Pioneers furnished sophomore guard Michael Jefferson to the All-HCAC First Team while junior guard Gabe Schmitt was named an All-HCAC Second Team selection.

Northern Kentucky (26-9 overall, 13-5 Horizon League – T-1st place). In what would be John Brannen's final year as head coach of the Norse, Northern Kentucky captured a share of the 2019 Horizon League regular-season title with Wright State by recording a 13-5 record. It marked the second straight regular-season crown for the Norse, who went on to win the Horizon League Tournament Championship and clinch a berth into the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons. As an NCAA Tournament 14-seed, the Norse gave No. 3 seed Texas Tech, which eventually would advance all the way to the national championship game, a run for their money in a 72-57 loss.

With a 26-9 overall record, the most wins by a Northern Kentucky team since moving into Division I in 2012, the 2018-19 season marked the third straight year that the Norse have won 20-plus wins in a single season.

 

TATES CREEK COACHING GARDEN

Wednesday's contest presents a matchup of two head coaches with significantly different amounts of tenure at their current programs, but who each possess a similar genesis to their basketball careers.

Transylvania head coach Brian Lane enters his 19th year at the post of the Pioneers men's basketball team while Northern Kentucky head coach Darrin Horn makes his debut with the Norse, carrying a record of 171-111 in nine years as a head coach.

Both Lane and Horn's roots each stem all the way back to Tates Creek High School in the 20th century in Lexington where Horn was a guard for the 1991 KHSAA State runner-up Tates Creek Boys' Basketball team, playing under Transylvania '67 Hall-of-Famer Nolan Barger.

Lane, a 1986 graduate of Tates Creek and 1990 graduate of Transylvania, also played under his mentor and eventual fellow Transylvania alum in Barger at Tates Creek.

Horn played at Western Kentucky University from 1991 through 1995 and later coached the Hilltoppers from 2003 through 2008. Horn then coached at South Carolina from 2008 through 2012. Horn comes to Northern Kentucky after serving most recently as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Texas under Shaka Smart, where he spent four seasons. Horn replaces John Brannen, who accepted a new head coaching position this summer across the Ohio River at the University of Cincinnati.

Lane played under his father, the legendary Don Lane at Transylvania University from 1986 through 1990. His entire head coaching career has spanned his time at Transylvania beginning in 2001. Lane enters the 2019-20 season just six wins away from the 300-career win mark, sporting a head coaching record of 294-187.  

 

KEY RETURNEES (stats from 2018-19 season)

Transylvania: Michael Jefferson (Junior, guard, 6-2, 12.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 61% FG, 58.7% FT, 1.3 spg, leading scorer, 23 starts, All-HCAC 1st Team Selection)

Gabe Schmitt (Senior, guard, 6-2, 12 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.4 rpg, 47% FG, 43% 3 pt FG [42-98], 84% FT, second-leading scorer, 16 starts, All-HCAC 2nd Team Selection)

Lucas Gentry (Junior, forward, 6-6, 7.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 48% FG, 36% 3 pt FG [14-39], fourth-leading scorer, 11 starts)

Luke Schroeder (Sophomore, center, 6-9, 7.2 ppg, 4 rpg, 53% FG, 18 starts)

Zach Larimore (Sophomore, forward, 2.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 50% FG, 21 appearances)

Devin Twenty (Junior, guard, 5-11, 6.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 36% FG, 27% 3 pt FG, 1.3 spg, 12 starts)

Spencer McKinney (Senior, guard, 6-4, 6.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 38% FG, 34% 3 pt FG [33-97], 9 starts)

Dominique Turner (Junior, forward, 6-5, 4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 48% FG)

 

THE OPPONENT (stats from 2018-19 season)

Northern Kentucky: Jalen Tate (Redshirt junior, guard, 6-6, 13.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.2 apg, 55% FG, All-Horizon League 1st Team, Horizon League All-Defensive Team 2019)

Tyler Sharpe (Senior, guard, 6-0, 14.4 ppg, 3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 42% FG, 38% 3pt FG, 90 made 3 pt FG)

Dantez Walton (Senior, forward, 6-6, 11.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 45% FG, 33% 3 pt FG)

Trevon Faulkner (Sophomore, guard, 6-3, 4.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 59% FG, 35% 3 pt FG)

Paul Djoko (Redshirt sophomore, guard, 6-4, 1.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 43% FG)

Silas Adheke (Redshirt junior, forward, 2 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 71% FG)

 

QUICK FACTS

-Michael Jefferson ranked 26th in the country last year in field-goal percentage, shooting at a 61% clip. As a sophomore, Jefferson ranked 83rd nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2:08 to 1)

-Transylvania scored a season-high 96 points in their regular-season finale on February 16 at HCAC opponent Anderson University, a 96-89 win.

-The Pioneers have improved upon their conference record each of the past three seasons, cresting with a second-place finish last season and advancing to the HCAC Tournament Championship game

2015-16: 11-16 (9-9, 6th place)

2016-17: 17-10 (11-7, 5th place)

2017-18: 17-9 (12-6, 4th place)

2018-19: 17-10 (13-5, 2nd place)

-In last year's season-opening exhibition against No. 2 Kentucky, Michael Jefferson scored a team-high 14 points off the bench on 6-for-8 shooting from the floor. Lucas Gentry added 8 points on 2-for-3 shooting from the field and a 3-for-3 showing from the foul line. Kentucky won over Transy, 94-66. The Pioneers won the three-point battle, knocking down 9 of 31 attempts from beyond the arc while Kentucky shot 1 for 13 from outside.

-Transylvania's best season during the Brian Lane era came in the 2005-2006 season. The Pioneers tied the program record for most wins, going 27-5 and advancing to the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. It is the deepest run in NCAA postseason history for any Transylvania men's basketball team

-The Pioneers' longest win streak last season was five games, spanning conference play from January 26 (an 81-70 win against Rose-Hulman) through February 9 (an 87-67 win over Defiance). The longest losing streak was three games in November.

-The Pioneers played one nationally-ranked team last season, falling to then-number 9 ranked Hamilton College, 73-63 on November 24, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at Carnegie Mellon University.

-Gentry registered his season-high of 24 points in the last game of the season, the HCAC Tournament Championship game on February 24 with 8-of-14 shooting from the floor.

-Jefferson scored a season-high 32 points on February 23 in the HCAC Tournament semifinal vs. Franklin College on 14-for-16 shooting from the field.  

 

Transylvania Media Contacts

Twitter: @TransyHoops

Website: TransySports.com

Official Transy Game Hashtags: #FlyPios

 

Justin Sweeney, Sports Information Director

859-233-8284

E: jsweeney@transy.edu

 

Neal Settle, Assistant Sports Information Director

859-233-8287

E: nsettle@transy.edu