With both teams riding four-game winning streaks, something had to give Wednesday afternoon in the Beck Center.
Drew Mumford scored 18 points and Nate McGovney added 16 as Thomas More held off Transylvania 75-69.
The Saints (7-4) also got a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds from Louis Maniacci.
A 10-minute stretch early in the game was crucial.
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"We had talked before the game about if we were in a good spot going into 10 minutes, making sure that our last 10 minutes were really, really good," Transy Coach Brian Lane said. "And I thought they were. The problem was we had a really bad 10 minutes when we were up three with 19 (minutes) to go in the first half and then went down 12 at the nine-minute mark. I thought that 10-minute segment was the difference.
"We were trying to beg guys to get going and play hard and block out, and that's not how we won four straight. We weren't having to coach all the effort plays like we were today."
Parker Stansberry topped the Pioneers (4-6) with 19 points. Robert Dence had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Alex Jones added 12 points and Sam Sergeant had 11, each doling out five assists.
The Saints led 38-26 at halftime, having outrebounded the Pioneers 24-12 and outshot them 46.7 percent (14-for-30) to 27.6 percent (8-for-29).
"We knew at halftime that, as well-coached as Transy is, that it was gonna be a one-possession game down the stretch," Thomas More Coach Drew Cooper said. "We had gotten out to a good lead just by earning some stops and rebounding the basketball, and that's a credit to us. But we knew it was going to be a 40-minute game, and let's credit Transy ... because they're a relentless basketball team."
That relentlessness showed up on the boards. Transy outrebounded the Saints 21-18 in the second half.
McGovney's three-pointer gave the visitors their biggest lead, 41-27, with 19:08 left.
Stansberry answered with a three-pointer, triggering a 12-4 flurry that brought Transy to within six points.
The Pioneers pulled to within 61-59 when Jones converted a layup with 5:10 left.
But McGovney stepped up to nail another three-pointer.
Transy came back with two free throws by Dence and a tip-in by Stansberry to make it 64-63 with 3:38 left.
Again, Thomas More replied with a three-pointer, this time by Drew Mays.
After Dence scored on the low post to make it 67-65, Transy had a couple of looks to tie, but couldn't convert.
The score was 69-67 when Thomas More went on a 6-0 run in the final minute — a basket by Mumford and a pair of free throws each by Jalen Clark and Eliot Pipes. Transy's Dence scored on a tip-in at the buzzer.
"In the first half, we were as good as we've been all season defensively," Cooper said. "And then we missed some shots, and I think that hurt our morale a little bit. It deflated us a little bit, and then we were exposed defensively. But our guys got it together and earned some stops down the stretch, and that's what the difference was."
"The lack of intensity that first half is the most disappointing about that outing," Lane said. "We battled back in the second half. We just dug ourselves too deep a hole."