LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – Despite balanced scoring by the Yellow Jackets, Defiance fell in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action at Transylvania University Saturday afternoon, 91-77.
The Yellow Jackets (3-10 overall, 2-4 HCAC) jumped ahead early in the contest as a three-pointer by freshman Avion Franklin (Toledo/Whitmer) and a free throw by junior Allante Wheeler (Canton, Mich.) gave DC the 4-3 advantage. The Pioneers would respond stringing together a 5-0 run to capture its first lead of the contest with 14:28 remaining, 12-8. The hot streak continued for Transylvania following a DC jumper by Franklin that led to the 14-10 lead seconds later.
Freshman Kiewuan Graham (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) made his way into the scoring column for the Purple and Gold sinking a jumper in the lane and a pair of free throws with 12:23 to play to cut the deficit to three, 17-14. However, Transylvania stepped up on the defensive end holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless for nearly four minutes to claim the 27-14 advantage. Junior Randall Aikins Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth) looked to end the scoring drought for DC as he sank a pair of free throws that pulled Defiance within 33-19 at the 4:36 mark. The Pioneers went on to score the final five points of the half to enter the break leading 46-28.
As a team, Defiance shot 9-of-26 (34.6%) from the field in the first half, including 8-of-11 (72.7 %) from the free throw line. Graham and Franklin led the way for the Purple and Gold with nine points apiece.
In the second half, Transylvania picked up right where it left off scoring six unanswered points to push the advantage to 52-28 with 18:48 to play. The Purple and Gold responded with a run of its own led by Wheeler with a layup and a three-pointer to cap off an 8-0 run, 52-36. Minutes later, freshman Ellijah Pennington (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) looked to spark another DC run finishing in the lane with 15:11 remaining, 58-42. The Pioneer offense went to work late in the half stringing together its longest run of the game to blow the game wide open with 10:36 left, 71-49. The two teams exchanged points for much of the remaining time before back-to-back scores by Transylvania sealed the 91-77 victory.
The Yellow Jackets were led in the contest by Graham and Franklin with a team-high 18 points apiece, while Wheeler tallied a double-double scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Defiance returns to action Wednesday, January 10 as they travel to Bluffton. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m.