Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men’s basketball team had its hopes for an extended tournament run doused by the Anderson University Ravens as the Pioneers fell 95-82 Tuesday night at the Beck Center in the first round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
Taking a 40-33 lead to the half, the conference tournament No. 4 seed Pioneers were blitzed by the aggressive No. 5 seed Ravens 62 to 42 in the final 20 minutes as Anderson climbed from behind to post its second victory at the Beck Center against the Pioneers in four days, following in their 92-87 regular season finale victory over Transy.
Eliminated from the conference tournament, Transylvania completes its season at 17-9 overall, and 12-7 against conference opposition. Anderson advances to Friday’s HCAC semifinals against the HCAC No. 1 seed Rose-Hulman for a 2:00 p.m. game at Hulbert Arena.
Junior Cooper Theobald carried the flame of offense for the Pioneers in Tuesday’s defeat, scoring a career-high 44 points to go with 10 rebounds. Theobald hit 12-of-17 shots from the floor and knocked down 18-of-23 free throws in 35 minutes of play.
Transylvania held Anderson to 9-of-25 shooting in the first half, but the Ravens burst out to a 14-3 run to start the second half, harnessing a 47-43 lead.
The Pioneers fought back as junior Bo Schuh and Theobald scored on aggressive plays to tie up Anderson at 51-all. But Anderson erupted again, taking a 64-55 lead on an inside score from Anderson’s Mike Peters with 8:21 left in the game.
The Ravens continued to build upon its lead, growing a 70-55 advantage with 6:09 left in the second half. A jumper from Theobald stemmed the tide on the following possession but Anderson’s Cory Kreiger buried a wide-open three-pointer to hand his visiting Ravens a 73-57 lead with 5:09 left in the game.
The Pioneers attempted to extend the game through fouling and applying heavy defensive pressure on Anderson ballhandlers, but the Ravens sank 26-of-32 free throws in the second half to pull off the first-round victory.
Senior forward Robert Dence finished his career with six points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes of work, hitting all four of his free throw attempts. Fellow senior forward Tristan Burgess added one rebound in four minutes of work in his final appearance as a Pioneer.
Theobald was the lone double-digit scorer for the Pioneers on Tuesday; sophomore guard Spencer McKinney followed with nine points and two assists.
Transylvania outrebounded Anderson 37 to 31 and exceeded Anderson’s field goal total, hitting 26-of-59 shots to the Ravens’ 25-of-49 showing.
The Pioneers wrap up a 17-9 campaign, improving upon its conference win total for the second straight season.
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