To see the key to Transylvania's basketball season thus far, look no further than its Dynamic Duo.
Between them, Ethan Spurlin and fellow 6-foot-4 junior Brandon Rash lead the Pioneers in nearly every statistical category.
They seem to alternate roles in a hoops version of Batman and Robin.
Going into Saturday's Heartland Conference home game against Manchester, Spurlin leads in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounding (6.2) and free throws (110). He shares the lead in steals (26) with point guard Tate Cox.
Rash averages 16.6 points and 4.0 rebounds. He leads the team in field goals (134), field-goal percentage (56.5), assists (43) and blocks (7).
Spurlin and Rash lead a starting five that accounts for nearly 60 of Transy's 69.9 points per game average.
"They're the heart and soul of our team," Coach Brian Lane said.
The heart and soul of a team ranked No. 15 in NCAA Division III, with a 20-2 record, and a two-game lead in the conference at 14-1.
Who could have imagined the success Transy is experiencing this season, though?
Rash, for one.
"I mean, I thought we could have a season like this last year," he said. "I really believe in these guys. If we sit down and guard, play like we can, I think we can play with anybody in the country."
A finance major from Montgomery County, Rash was All-HCAC and led Transy in scoring as a sophomore with 11.9 points a game. He added 3.7 rebounds and team-leading totals of 74 assists, 18 blocks and 35 steals.
Spurlin, a business management major from Lincoln County, added 10.5 points, a team-leading 5.1 rebounds, 21 assists, 13 blocks and 23 steals.
The Pioneers finished 18-9 overall, 11-7 in the HCAC, falling to Manchester in the league tournament.
"We were still pretty good last year, and all of us were returning," Spurlin said. "We're really good. Our team's solid. ... Our bench is solid, too. I was pretty confident about how good we'd be this season, and so far we've lived up to it. And, hopefully, it puts us in the NCAA Tournament."
Saturday's game is the final game scheduled in the Beck Center, where Transy is 12-0.
However, the Pioneers will host the HCAC Tournament if they win the regular-season title. After Manchester, Transy will travel to second-place Hanover on Wednesday and Bluffton the following Saturday, Feb. 18.
With home-floor advantage and the 1-2 punch of Spurlin and Rash, the Pioneers would be tough to stop.
"It's a tough matchup because when we have (Spurlin and Rash) in there — and we have them in there a lot — you try to find which of the two defenders is the weakest and maybe try to go toward (that) one," Lane said. "They're doing such a nice job now of playing together. You can see in their cuts, if one's being double-teamed, they're already looking for the other one, and he's in the right spot. That's not stuff we practice. That's just them getting comfortable over a number of years playing."
Although Spurlin does most of his scoring while battling bigger players inside, he played guard early in his high school career and is capable on the perimeter.
Rash, who played point guard in high school, is more of a slasher. But he also can operate on the block and shoot the three (he's 19-for-43 this season).
Both play with high intensity.
"We're undersized and usually have bigger guys on us," Rash said. "Both of us, in high school, handled the ball. ... That really helps us, I think, in this league because we're able to be a lot more versatile. We can score on the block and take our guys off the dribble if we have to, and we can hit the open shot most of the time."
The two became fast friends almost from the moment they met on campus.
"We hang out all the time," Spurlin said. "We do a lot of stuff together. On the floor, I feel the same way. I mean, every day I just feel like we learn more and more about each other and how to play off each other."
That's good news for Transy, not so good for opponents.
"We haven't had too many instances where those two guys haven't been in positions to really be solid," Lane said. "If you take one off the team, the other one would be an All-American. ... They make a coach look pretty good."