LEXINGTON, Ky. – Earlham College men's basketball outhustled and outshot Transylvania University on its way to a 68-66 win over the Pioneers, in both teams' Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener on Wednesday night at the Clive Beck Center. The win was the Quakers' first victory in 20 tries over the Pioneers – who were picked first in this season's HCAC preseason poll – since joining the ranks of NCAA Division III in 1982.
Final Score: Earlham 68, Transylvania 66
Location: Lexington, Ky. – Beck Center
Records: Earlham 4-2, 1-0 HCAC / Transylvania 3-2, 0-1 HCAC
THE SHORT STORY
Transy opened the game on an 8-0 run, but Earlham rallied and outgunned the Pioneers in the opening half on its way to a 31-21 halftime lead. The Quakers shot 41.4 percent from the floor in the first half and were 6-of-15 from 3-point range while holding the Pioneers to 32.1 percent shooting overall and a 0-of-6 ledger from beyond the arc. Earlham capped the opening half with an 8-0 run of its own, marked by a pair of Chainey Zolman 3-point buckets.
Transy clawed its way back into the contest in the second stanza and made it a one-possession affair, 33-30, on Gabe Schmitt's 3-pointer at the 16:33 mark. The Pioneers stayed with the Quakers throughout the second half, briefly taking a 63-62 lead on a pair of Schmitt foul shots. A Blake Bonin jumper – pair of his 13-point night – with 30 seconds remaining put Earlham back in front, 64-63. Jamel Barnes Jr. went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in the waning seconds to clinch the win for the Quakers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Chainey Zolman finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor for Earlham and went 3-of-6 from 3-point range. The reigning HCAC men's hoops player of the week also had four rebounds, two assists, and one block on the night.
Joining Zolman in double figures was Jamel Barnes Jr. with 14 points and six assists, Blake Bonin with 13 points and six assists, and Thomas Sanborn with 11 points and five rebounds. Kenneth Stalling Jr. led the Quakers on the glass with six rebounds to go with his eight points.
Transylvania had three players score in double digits, led by Gabe Schmitt with 20 points. Lucas Gentry and Michael Jefferson had 17 and 11 points respectively.
Earlham finished the night with a .473 field goal percentage (26-of-55) and was 8-of-23 from 3-point range, compared to Transy's 24-of-55 (.436 FG pct.) shooting performance and 3-of-13 mark from beyond the arc.
The Pioneers had a 34-28 command of the boards, including an 11-6 advantage on the offensive glass.
Earlham men's basketball continues Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday, Dec. 7, when it travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, to face Mount St. Joseph. Tip-off is slated for 3:00 p.m.