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Men’s basketball ties for second in HCAC

The men’s basketball team tied for second in regular season Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a 10-6 record, then lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament to end with a 16-11 overall mark.

Head coach Brian Lane ’90 pointed to a lack of experience as the factor holding the Pioneers back from making a good season an outstanding one. Guard Stephen Gabbard played well, finishing second on the team in made three-point goals with 46, but he was the lone senior on a team with three sophomores among the top four scorers.

“A lot of games where we had the opportunity to make it go one way or the other, we had key turnovers, a sign of inexperience,” Lane said. “Still, we were picked to finish third in the conference and beat that prediction, and we never lost more than two in a row, even during the final weeks of tough conference play.”

Transy stood at 6-2 midway through the HCAC schedule, but went 4-4 after that, including road loses at eventual regular-season champion Defiance College and at Franklin College, who tied the Pioneers for second place.

The challenging non-conference schedule included four teams that had played in the NCAA Division III national championship the previous season. “This part of the schedule was a little more than we could handle this year, but playing teams of that caliber is great preparation for future NCAA tournament competition,” Lane said.

Junior forward Joey Verax and sophomore guard Tim Tierney were named to the All-HCAC first team. Verax led the Pioneers in scoring and rebounding with 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Tierney was Transy’s third leading scorer at 10.5 points a game and led the team in assists with 3.6 per contest.

Sophomore guard Matthew Parton (pictured above), the second leading scorer with 10.6, was among the nation’s leaders in three-point field goals, making 73 of 160 for 45.6 percent. Junior guard Aaron Cash was fourth leading scorer at 9.4 a game.

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