Men's Basketball

Transy's Verax perfect in win over Franklin

It wasn't a record, Transylvania's 73.2 shooting percentage in an 87-72 victory over Franklin at the Beck Center Wednesday night.

But Joey Verax didn't miss on 10 shots and equaled Collier Mills' performance a decade ago against Southern Virginia.

"It's hard to beat 100 percent," Transylvania Coach Brian Lane said. "We harped on taking really good shots, and that's what we did."

"Anytime you're mentioned with (Mills), that's pretty exciting," Verax said. "He's one of the best to ever play at Transylvania."

Mills was NAIA Player of the Year in 2001 and a three-time All-American.

The Pioneers were just off the team shooting record of 76 percent against Brescia in 1986.

"Franklin is one of the best at defending the three, so we knew we weren't going to get many (five of 10)," Lane said. "But the ones we got were good ones."

Thanks to its accuracy, Transylvania moved to 4-2 in the Heartland Conference, while first-place Franklin dropped to 5-1.

Transylvania (10-4) shot 70.4 percent in the first half and 78.6 percent after the break. The Grizzlies (8-7) finished with 57.1 percent.

The Pioneers primary post players Verax, Blake McCowan and Brock Jones combined for 16 of 21.

"You'd think shooting that percentage we'd have had more assists," Lane said. "But we had a lot of one-on-one opportunities, and we took advantage."

The Pioneers used a combination of driving layups and a trio of three-pointers to lead 44-28 at halftime.

The teams were shooting in the 70 percent range as Transylvania built a 16-8 lead on a Verax trey. The Grizzlies went on an 8-0 run and got even on a pair of threes.

After one more tie, the Pioneers took off on a 16-2 run, including 14 points in a row, to lead 36-20 six minutes before intermission.

Franklin was scoreless for almost six minutes. The visitors committed three turnovers, then missed three shots from the field and four free throws.

The Pioneers had a 28-10 advantage in the paint for the half and 42-26 for the game. The Grizzlies shot 52 percent from the field but missed all five free throws in the first half. They scored eight points in the last 11½ minutes.

"This was a big game for us," said McCowan, who led all rebounders with five and led Transy with four assists. "We've got another one Saturday against Anderson."

Anderson defeated Bluffton and is tied for first with Franklin. Tip-off is 4 p.m. at the Beck.

Verax finished with 26 points. He moved to 35th on Transy's career list, passing John Botkin and Lee Rose.

Tim Tierney scored 13 points for the winners. Aaron Cash and Chris Owens contributed 11.

Will Conoley scored 18 for Franklin. Jace Redman made four threes and had 16 points.

Transylvania entered the game tied for fourth in NCAA Division with 11 turnovers a game. The Pioneers were 16th in assist-turnover ratio.


The Pioneers had played only one league game at home before Wednesday night. They are 2-0 at the Beck and 2-2 on the road.