bc 106, dc 103
Bluffton pulls off 106-103 win over HCAC-leader Defiance on DeNero's 3-pointer at buzzerFebruary 13, 2002
|Derek DeNero (#33) gets congratulated by teammate Brad Boyles after his game-winning
shot beat Defiance Wednesday night 106-103.
Bluffton College junior Derek DeNero's 30-foot last-second shot hit nothing but the bottom of the net as the final buzzer sounded to give the Beavers a 106-103 victory over Heartland Conference leader Defiance College Wednesday night on Senior Night in Founders Hall.
Bluffton overcame a 10-point second half deficit and scored the game's final eight points to notch their 10th win of the season and go out winners in their final game of the season in Founders Hall.
The Beavers made a season-high 13 three-pointers in the game and shot 61.9% from behind the arc (13-for-21).
Junior Mike Leimeister, who scored a career-high 34 points and set a BC single game record by shooting 93.3% from the floor (14-for-15), tied the game with a trey with 39 seconds left to play and then took a charge from Defiance's Kevin Stuckmeyer with four seconds left to give Bluffton the ball for their final shot.
Junior Marcus Bixler took the inbounds pass near mid-court and dribbled to the left wing before passing the ball back to DeNero, who let fly the game-winner from the edge of the Bluffton mascot painted on the court as the Bluffton students flooded the court.
A season-high 1,089 fans packed Founders Hall as seniors Kevin Grey and Rod Overmyer were honored before the game. Overmyer was also honored with a game ball for going over the 1000 point mark last Saturday in Bluffton's win at Transylvania.
Bluffton has now won back-to-back games for the first time since December, and the Beavers have won three of their last five games. BC will travel to Thomas More College on Saturday (on WDOH 107.1 FM) before entering the HCAC tournament next Tuesday night, most likely at Defiance.
Both teams had an unbelievable night shooting the basketball and combined for 118 points in the first half as both teams shot over 65% in the first 20 minutes.
Bluffton was 9-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half to take a 61-57 lead at halftime, but Defiance scored the first 12 points of the second half to take a 69-61 lead with 16:48 left in the game. That lead would grow to 10 points with 12:08 left to play, but Bluffton then went on a 16-5 run to take an 87-86 lead with 6:36 remaining. There were 10 ties or lead changes in the final six minutes of action, and Bluffton's next lead wouldn't come until DeNero's shot ended the game.
Overmyer finished the game with 21 points and sophomore Michael Kingsley, who was 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half, added 17.
Leimeister added 11 rebounds to his point total for his third career double-double.
Defiance scored over 100 points for the sixth time in the last seven games against Bluffton, but the Beavers' season-high 106 points gave BC their first win over Defiance February 4, 1998.
Mike Kurdziel led Defiance with 25 points. The Yellow Jackets are now 16-9 overall and 10-4 in the HCAC and give up their #1 spot in the HCAC to Hanover College.
Bluffton's 58.1% shooting percentage from the floor was their second-best effort of the season, which helped overcome Defiance's 61.5% shooting percentage on the night.
DeNero ended the game with 11 points, while freshman Gabe Denning added nine points and five assists.