2002-03 Men's Basketball
bc 86, mu 79
Bluffton tops Madonna 86-79 in thriller to advance to McDonald's Tournament championshipBy Tim Stried
December 30, 2002
Five Bluffton College players scored in double figures to lead the Beavers past Madonna University 86-79 Monday night in the first round of the Fifth Annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament.
Bluffton, now 8-1 all-time in this event, will meet Muskingum College Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the championship game as BC seeks their fourth title trophy. Muskingum topped Kenyon 91-61 in Monday's first game to set a tournament record for largest margin of victory.
Bluffton shot 65.5% from the floor in the first half and set a tournament record with 53 points in a half as BC took a 22-point lead at halftime, 53-31. The second half was a whole different ballgame, however, as Madonna shot 65.5% from the floor and came all the way back to tie the score twice late in the game.
Bluffton was held to a 37.5% shooting clip in the second half as the Crusaders tied the score at 70-70 with 7:13 left to play and again at 75-75 with 2:55 remaining. The Beavers outscored Madonna 11-4 the rest of the way, however, to improve its record to 4-6 on the season. Madonna falls to 7-6.
Madonna was whistled for a tournament-record 36 personal fouls and Bluffton went to the free throw line 42 times, converting on 28 of those free tosses, both numbers marking tournament records and season highs. With BC scoring their points at the free throw line, the Beavers attempted just 53 shots, nearly their season low, and attempted a season-low seven 3-pointers, making two.
Senior Mike Leimeister collected his fifth career double-double with a team-high 23 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior Brad Boyles scored 16 points, 14 of those coming in the first half, while seniors Derek DeNero and Marcus Bixler both scored 12 points. Sophomore Bryce Beilharz chipped in 10.