DEFIANCE,OHIO – The Defiance College men's basketball team dropped a thriller on Senior Day against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Transylvania University on Saturday afternoon at the Karl H. Weaner Center, 83-77.
The Yellow Jackets (3-20 overall, 2-14 HCAC) were led in the contest by freshman Kiewuan Graham with a career-high and game-high 27 points. Freshman Demoines Whitney added 21 points and five rebounds, while freshman Ben Singer netted 14 points.
In the opening half, Defiance and Transylvania went shot for shot before a pair free throws by Whitney with 11:53 to play gave DC the 14-11 advantage. The Purple and Gold continued to deem clutch at the free throw line as Graham connected for a pair of free throws moments later to keep the three point advantage, 16-13.
The Pioneers continued to hang around as they too found success at the charity stride before Graham sunk a crowd roaring three-pointer with 9:47 to play to extend the Yellow Jacket advantage, 19-15. Junior Randall Aikins Jr. gave the Purple and Gold its largest lead to date as he netted a one-and-one with 8:58 remaining, 21-15. Transy clawed its way back into the contest once more using back-to-back scores in the paint to pull within 26-23. With 5:37 to play, junior Noah Goodrich drained a three-pointer to give DC its largest lead of the contest 32-25. The Pioneer offense battled pulling within three points when Singer deemed clutch with the deep ball at the 3:36 minute mark, 39-33. However, Transy would close out the half with layups in the paint to cut the deficit to 44-43 at the break.
The Purple and Gold entered half time shooting 12-for-26 (46.2%) from the floor, including five three-pointers.
Transylvania would finally steal the lead in the second half following a pair of free throws with 18:37 remaining, 45-44. The Yellow Jackets continued to hang around as Singer again dropped a huge three-pointer putting DC back on top. The Pioneers cranked the intensity with 13:13 to play capturing the lead for good, 55-52. Defiance attempted to keep pace as a layup by Whitney and jumper by Graham cut the deficit to 60-58. However, Transylvania delivered a 6-0 run over a three minute span to push the advantage, 68-60.
With under a minute remaining the Purple and Gold continued to fight as Graham sparked a DC 5-0 to put Defiance back within 78-71. The Pioneers provided clutch at the free throw line en route to sealing the victory.
Prior to the contest, Defiance recognized senior Jonathan Ragland.
The Yellow Jackets return to action Wednesday, February 14 as they play host to Earlham. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.