CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Wilmington College men's basketball team couldn't overcome a 13-0 deficit to begin the contest in an 87-78 loss to Transylvania University in the season-opener at Mount St. Joseph University on Friday evening.
The Pioneers, who were picked as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) preseason favorite, scored the game's first 13 points. Jeffery Mansfield scored the Fightin' Quakers' first bucket of the season just over five minutes into the game and followed that up with two free throws. Matt Smith, fellow Wilmington High School graduate, followed that up with a triple at the 12:38 mark to get Wilmington within six.
Transylvania would stretch the lead back up to 16 points (25-9) midway through the half, and though the Quakers would cut that in half with a Mansfield layup at the 4:07 mark, the Transylvania would go into halftime up 48-31 thanks to a run to end the half.
The Pioneers' lead blossomed to 25 points thanks to a 10-4 run to open the second half, but the Quakers kept battling and turned up the defensive pressure that would go on to force 31 total turnovers. Wilmington would get within six in the final minute, but never got the ball back with a chance to make it a one-possession game.
Both team shots in the 40s from the field with Wilmington making one more field goal than Transylvania, but the Pioneers held an advantage from distance, connecting on 9-of-18 triples compared to 5-of-28 for the Quakers. Both teams converted between 70-75 percent of their free throw attempts.
The rebounds and turnover statistics were completely lopsided with Transylvania holding a 44-28 advantage in rebounding while Wilmington forced 31 Pioneer turnovers and had 14 steals. A total of 53 fouls were called in the game.
Individually, Mansfield poured in a career-high 19 points with nine of those coming at the free throw line while DaeShawn Jackson scored 14 points and had six rebounds in 24 minutes. Abdul Kanu, Colin Myers and Payton Smith all recorded three steals.
Gabe Schmitt finished with 24 points including a 15-of-16 performance from the free throw line. Lucas Gentry and Dominique Pierce also finished in double figures for the Pioneers.
Wilmington (0-1) will look to bounce back with a road contest at Mount St. Joseph tomorrow (Saturday) at 1 p.m.