2002-03 Men's Basketball
bc 69, mc 62
Leimeister named MVP as Bluffton's hot shooting downs Muskingum 69-62By Tim Stried
December 31, 2002
Led by tournament most-valuable-player Mike Leimeister, Bluffton College defeated Muskingum College 69-62 Tuesday afternoon in Founders Hall in the championship game of the Fifth Annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament.
Bluffton set a tournament record for shooting percentage in a half by shooting 73.7% in the second half to hold off a late Muskingum rally as the Beavers won their fourth tournament championship in the five years of this event.
Leimeister scored 20 of his points in the second half to notch his ninth career 30+ point game. He tied a career-high with four 3-pointers and was 11-for-13 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. He added nine rebounds to end the two-day tournament with 53 points and 20 rebounds.
Senior Marcus Bixler was also named to the all-tournament team as he scored 12 points in the championship game and added three assists to end the tournament with 24 points and seven assists.
Bluffton scored the final eight points of the first half to take a 28-20 lead at halftime and the Beavers went up by as many as 16 points early in the second half.
From the 3:42 mark of the first half until the 16:57 mark of the second half BC outscored Muskingum 18-2, but the Muskies would mount a comeback and got to within four points on three occasions late in the game. Each time they did, however, Bluffton was able to answer as junior Brad Boyles connected on a three-point play with 2:34 remaining off an assist from Leimeister, who then hit a 3-pointer on Bluffton's next possession.
Bixler and senior Derek DeNero combined for a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line in the final minute to seal the win for Bluffton, which improves to 9-1 all-time in this event and 5-6 overall on the season. Muskingum falls to 6-5 overall.
For the game, Bluffton shot a season-high 60.5% from the floor and 60.0% (6-for-10) from 3-point range.
The victory was head coach Guy Neal's 140th at Bluffton, which now ties him for third place on the all-time wins list with Hall of Famer Ken Mast.
Bluffton will travel to Adrian College on Sat. at 1 p.m. for a non-league game that can be heard live on WDOH 107.1 FM.