Schmitt’s big night from the foul line, Pioneer three-point barrage leads Transylvania men’s basketball to opening-night win over Wilmington

credit: Verge Media
credit: Verge Media

Cincinnati, Ohio – Behind a 24-point night from Gabe Schmitt, the Transylvania men's basketball team opened up the 2019-20 season with an 87-78 win against the Wilmington (Ohio) College Quakers on Friday night at the Harrington Center on the campus of Mount St. Joseph University.

The Pioneers opened up the game on a 13-0 run and never looked back in capturing their first win of the season on opening night at the nonconference tournament hosted by Mount St. Joseph. The Ohio Athletic Conference-affiliated Quakers fell to 0-1 overall.

Five different Pioneers shared in the scoring onslaught to begin the night as the Pioneers cultivated a 13-0 advantage in the first five minutes of play.

Wilmington answered with a 7-0 run of its own before Spencer Hemmerich canned one of seven made 3-pointers in the first half by the Pioneers for a 16-7 upper hand. Transylvania nailed 7-of-13 threeballs in the first half to grow a 48-31 halftime lead.

Schmitt continued to provide the Pioneers with timely scoring throughout the first half and the rest of the evening. As Wilmington tried to whittle away at Transy's budding lead, the senior hit a corner three to lift the Pioneers to a 22-9 advantage midway through the first half. Michael Jefferson showed off his emerging versatility with another three for the Pioneers to give the winged travelers a 25-9 lead. Conversely, Transylvania held Wilmington to a 3-for-13 showing from downtown in the first half.

Dominique Turner sprinted out of the halftime gate for the Pioneers with a personal 7-0 run via a field goal, a pair of free throws, and the eighth 3-pointer of the night for Transy on the way to a 55-31 outlook. The Quakers stemmed the tide with their first bucket of the second half two and a half minutes in, but Schmitt contributed a free throw and Turner scored again to give the Pioneers their largest lead of the night at 58-33 with 17:11 to go.

Wilmington began to make their run, outscoring Transylvania 13-2 over the next three minutes to slice Transylvania's cushion to 14. Spencer McKinney and Zach Larimore answered the bell with back-to-back buckets to give the Pioneers a 64-46 lead.

The lead stood at 77-60 in favor of Transylvania with 6:42 remaining in the game before Wilmington made one last stand. The Quakers went on an extended run, eventually cutting Transylvania's lead down to 79-73 with 1:02 to go, but had to resort to fouling Schmitt, who hit all of his free throws down the stretch. Schmitt finished the night shooting 15-for-16 from the free throw line while the Pioneers finished the night 26-for-36 as a whole.

The Pioneers displayed their size by winning the battle of the boards, 44-28 over Wilmington. The Quakers finished the night 5-for-28 from three-point land (17.9 percent) while the Pioneers finished the night shooting a 50 percent clip from outdoors.

Lucas Gentry contributed 12 points off the bench for the Pioneers on a 5-for-7 display from the field while Turner finished the night with 11 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Jefferson paced the team with nine rebounds and five assists to go with eight points.

The Pioneers will play again at the Harrington Center tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. against Ohio Northern University, another member of the Ohio Athletic Conference as their nonconference slate continues to begin the 2019-20 campaign.

For more on Transylvania men's basketball, follow @TransyHoops on Twitter