BLUFFTON – Transylvania University is located in Lexington, Ky. and bus problems on the way to Lima forced them to postpone their December 2 game at Bluffton.
The game was made up Tuesday afternoon and Bluffton probably would have been happy with more bus problems for the Pioneers.
Transylvania was much taller than the Beavers and played a 2-3 zone defense that kept the Bluffton team from getting into any offensive rhythm and the end result was a 64-59 Transylvania win in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action.
After starting the season 8-1, the Beavers have now dropped two games in a row due in large part to shooting problems. They connected for just 27 percent from the field in a 72-63 loss to Hope on January 30 and followed that up with a 27 percent first half against Transylvania that saw them fall into a 29-20 hole going to the break.
Bluffton (8-3, 3-1 HCAC) coach Chad Shutler was quick to point out that he is not a believer in excuses.
“It doesn’t matter about the holidays or the weather,” Shutler said. “We can’t come out flat. We weren’t ready to play from start to finish – there are no excuses.”
The Beavers played better in the third period but still trailed 46-35 going to the fourth quarter.
A spirited comeback saw them close to within 58-57 with 23.9 seconds left to play. The Pioneers (7-4, 2-2 HCAC), however, answered the Bluffton charge by connecting on 6-of-6 free throws in the last 23 seconds to keep the Beavers at bay.
Bluffton shot the ball much better in the second half when they connected on 42 percent to improve the over-all game percentage to 35 percent. The Pioneers connected on 46 percent of their shots in the contest.
“They are bigger and stronger on the blocks and we didn’t respond to their physicality.” Shutler said. “They deserved to win today and we didn’t. I will be curious to see how we respond to a little adversity (back to back losses).”
Transylvania held a big advantage in rebounds as they pulled down 38 boards in the contest compared to only 23 for the Beavers.
The Pioneers were led in scoring by 6-foot-0 senior post player Rachel Cox with 18 points. Kristen Hayes added 13 points and Celia Kline chipped in with 12 for Transylvania.
Bluffton got a game-high 19 point effort by Macy Sheerer with Abigail O’Donnell adding 16. Kaycee Rowe (Allen East) finished the game with nine points, five rebounds, and three steals.