Balanced Transy moves into HCAC Tourney finals
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Transylvania advanced to the Heartland Conference Tournament Championship game Saturday, taking a hard-hitting 71-59 win over Anderson at the Beck Center.
No. 16 Transy (23-3) remained unbeaten in 14 games on its home floor while Anderson (15-12) saw its season come to an end after upsetting the tourney's fourth seed, Bluffton, on Friday to get to the second round.
Waiting for the Pioneers is No. 3 seed Rose-Hulman , which advanced by knocking off conference runner-up Hanover 59-56 in the first game on Saturday.
Transy featured a balanced attack, led by 20 points from Barrett Meyer, who hit four of eight three-point attempts. Brandon Rash was seven of 11 from the field for 17 points (he also had five assists), and Ethan Spurlin, like Rash, a candidate for HCAC Player of the Year, put up a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Rash now had 952 career points.
Jake Browne had 16 points to lead the Ravens. Brock Morrison added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The game was highlighted by physical play and four Anderson technical, including two on the bench that led to the ejection of the Raven's head coach.
Transy got off to a fast start in front of a roaring crowd, leading by as many as 15 in the first half, which ended with the Pioneers on top, 36-24. Anderson never led, as Transy started the game on a 14-5 run.
Meyer and Rash accounted for eight points in the spurt. Meyer led Transy with 10 first-half points and Rash added eight. Transy shot 43 percent from the field in the half while Anderson, two of nine from three-point range, was at 33.3 percent overall.
Phil Hogan led the visitors in the first half with seven points.
It was more of the same in the second half as led by as many as 18 points.
Transy shot 50 percent for the game, including six of 18 from three-point range. The Pioneers were 21 of 36 from the free throw line. Anderson was at 39 percent from the field, but made just four of 15 threes and nine of 18 from the line.
The winner of Sunday's HCAC Tournament Championship game will earn the league's automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Transy is looking for its first bid since 2009 and its fourth since 2006, when it advanced to the Elite Eight.
The Pioneers previously won the HCAC tourney in 2006 and 2009.