Travis Schomaeker notched personal bests of 30 points, six triples and eight assists to help the Yellow Jacket men's basketball team overcome an early first-half deficit and defeat the Mount St. Joseph Lions 76-65.
Saturday's victory kept Defiance (16-5, 11-3 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) only one win behind Rose-Hulman for the top conference record. MSJ (12-8, 9-5 HCAC) now falls to fourth in the standings after the loss.
Right off the bat, it seemed as if it was going to be a big night for the Purple and Gold. Schomaeker (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) and Ryan Kicks (Port Clinton, Ohio / Port Clinton) connected on triples on DC's first-two possessions to put it up 6-0 one minute and nine seconds into play.
But the tide quickly swung into the Lions favor, as they went on a scoring tear over the next nine-plus minutes. Mount compiled a 25-4 run that put the Yellow Jackets in a 25-10 hole with 9:32 to play in the first period.
However, a 13-3 response from the home squad over the next three minutes left Defiance only trailing by five at 28-23. But the Purple and Gold only got hotter and hotter as the game went on.
DC then capped off the first-half comeback when Bernard Edwards (Detroit, Mich. / Warren Cousino) came up with a miraculous three-point make at the buzzer to knot the game up at 33-33 heading into intermission.
To start the second period some of the Yellow Jackets incredible shooting rubbed off on Mount St. Joseph, as neither team missed a field-goal attempt in the first five minutes of action. However, two Defiance turnovers and a pair of MSJ free throws led to the Lions taking a 46-41 advantage.
But there was no stopping the DC offense on this night, as it was sinking nearly every shot down the floor. After Mount had taken the five-point lead, the Purple and Gold proceeded to score 26 points in the next 10 minutes and 19 seconds of play for a 17-point swing that put the Jackets ahead 67-55 with 5:36 to play.
At that point of the game, Defiance had combined to shoot an incredible 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) from the floor in the second half.
DC did cool down over the rest of regulation, but made its free throws down the stretch and did not let Mount St. Joseph get within single digits to cruise to an eleventh HCAC victory by a final score of 76-65.
The Yellow Jackets concluded the game 26-of-43 (60.5) from the floor, 11-of-23 (47.80 from behind the arc and 13-of-14 (92.9) on free throws. Their marks from the field and from the charity stripe were both season highs. Defiance also won the rebounding battle (24-18) and bested Mount in assists (19-11).
Three players paced the Purple and Gold on the night. Schomaeker led the way with his 30 points on 9-of-12 (75.0) shooting with eight assists and four steals. Hicks finished with 18 on 8-of-11 from the floor to go along with five assists and four rebounds. Edwards then wrapped up the main scorers by notching 16 points on 6-of-12 (50.0) shooting.
DC will be back in the Karl H Weaner Center for its next contest on Wednesday, February 12 to take on the Earlham Quakers. Game time is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.