Threes are wild as Transylvania men whip Earlham in home season basketball opener

mmaloney@herald-leader.comDecember 5, 2012 

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There was no crashing this three party as Transylvania's basketball men celebrated their Beck Center season opener.

Transy came out firing early and often from long range Wednesday night en route to an 83-63 Heartland Conference victory over visiting Earlham.

The Pioneers never trailed, scoring their first 15 points from long range.

Of Transy's first 35 points, 30 came on 10 treys, three came on a three-point play and two on Ethan Spurlin's put-back bucket.

Transy (4-2, 2-0 HCAC) finished 16 for 32 from long range, compared to Earlham's 6 for 20.

"We did not go into the game saying we're going to shoot a lot of threes," Pioneers Coach Brian Lane said. "We talked at halftime — 21 out of our 33 attempts were threes. That's too many threes. But then we looked at our percentages and realized that we were 25 percent inside two (-point range) and I said maybe we didn't shoot enough threes.

"But I think we got the point across in the second half and our three-point percentage went up (from 47.6 percent to 54.5) because we were getting better threes, and then we got the inside game going the way that we need to. To Earlham's credit, they kept battling throughout."

Barrett Meyer (4 for 9 on threes) and Brandon Rash (2 for 4) led Transy with 18 points each. Tate Cox (4 for 5) scored 12 in 11 minutes — his first game of the season because of a knee injury. Spurlin, who did not attempt a three, and Parker Stansberry (1 for 6) had 10 points each, while Nick Fudge (3 for 3) had nine points and Taylor Botkin (2 for 3) had six.

Spurlin had a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds.

Earlham (1-7, 0-2) was led by Jack O'Flaherty and Tyler Lewis with 16 points each. Dustin Rusk scored 11 and Kristian Barden had 10.

Meyer hit three three-pointers in the first four minutes to spot Transy a 12-5 lead.

"I got hot early and that's something I try to do, try to get early looks before the other team can really start keying on me and staying out," Meyer said. "It kind of gets us going offensively. It's usually good when I can do that."

Earlham rallied for its only tie of the night, 20-all, on a Rusk three-pointer.

Rash countered with a three-point play, and Transy's next 12 came on three-pointers by Cox (back-to-back), Rash and Botkin for a 35-26 lead.

Rash, held to six points in the first half, doubled that total in the second half.

"We didn't come out and play hard and have near the intensity on defense," Rash said. "I felt like our offense — me and Spurlin are pretty used to having people try to key on us — we have such good shooters and they were able to knock early threes down, which got us off to a good start offensively. But defensively we've got to come out with more intensity and play harder."

Lane liked the way Transy's defense picked up after leading 39-34 at halftime. - Earlham shot 14 for 27 (51.9 percent) in the first half, 9 for 27 (33.3) the rest of the way.

Part of the Quakers' early success was the result of layups and put-backs as Transy focused on the visitors' three-point threats.

As Transy's defense picked up, so did turnovers. Earlham lost the ball 13 times, while Transy had only six errors.

Rash also cashed in with five assists.

"I play with some of the best shooters in the country," he said, "and I love setting those guys up."

Transy's five-point halftime lead grew to 58-44 with a 6-0 run triggered by a Meyer trey.

The greatest margin, 83-62, came on a Rash three-pointer with 1:29 left.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229.Twitter: @markmaloneyHL.Blog: Markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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