A valiant effort by Transylvania men's basketball in the final five minutes of game play couldn't trump the Eagles on Saturday, as the Pioneers fell, 78-69.
"We played well in segments during the game," said Head Coach Brian Lane
. "We have to get a consistency of effort for the entire 40 minutes or we will continue to be in two or three possession games every night out."
Sophomore Parker Stansberry
capped his week on the hardwood with another impressive performance, leading the team in scoring with 18 points and in rebounds with seven. Freshman Alex Jones
and freshman Ethan Rowe
tacked on an additional 15 points and 12 points, respectively.
Transylvania started off hot, gaining a quick 8-2 lead in the first minutes of game play. The Eagles laid on the pressure, upsetting the scoring streaking, netting six-straight points to tie the game at the 13-minute mark. A long 3-pointer gave the Eagles their first lead of the contest.
Spalding out-rebounded the Pioneers 10-6 through the first 12 minutes, while also managing the only two steals of the first with their intense full-court pressure. On a long pass to freshman Logan Wade
, Spalding's William Barber snatched the ball, resulting in two quick fast-break points.
The Pioneers found their momentum thanks to senior Joe Jennings
who netted five points in a matter of seconds. Jennings shortened the Eagle lead by nailing a two-point jumper, converting a defensive rebound on the Eagle end, and managing a quick layup and foul, adding an extra point to his impressive performance. His effort shortened the Eagle lead to three.
With seconds remaining in the first, freshman Zach Caggins
nailed a long 3-point shot, followed by a layup by freshman point guard Mason Monroe
at the buzzer, leaving the Eagles with a 37-35 lead at halftime.
The first five minutes weren't kind to the Pioneers in the second, scoring only one point in the first five minutes to Spalding's nine. By the 11-minute mark, a steal for two extended the Eagles' lead to the largest of the night, 52-43.
Then, in walked Ethan Rowe
Rowe was the spark the Transylvania offense needed, managing two back-to-back 3-pointers in 30 seconds. The effort gave the Pioneers their first lead since the first half, 56-54. In nearly three minutes, Rowe had scored eight points for the Pioneers, putting them back within reach.
Despite the comeback, it would be fouls and turnovers that would sink the Pioneers in the waning minutes.
"We played really hard at times and then, as some young team do, we relaxed and gave up open shots and didn't get rebounds," said Coach Lane.
Spalding capitalized in the final seconds at the free throw line, trumping Trasnylvania, 78-69.
The youth of the Pioneers have been a talking point through the opening half of the season, sporting 13 freshman and only one returning starter from last year's rotation. Though it's been a struggle at times, Coach Lane is proud of the effort the team has put forth to improve.
"As we close out 2013, I know that this team has made significant strides from its first game and hopefully will learn from this stretch of tough games," said Coach Lane.
The Pioneers tipoff in the new year on January 4 facing Anderson at 4 p.m.