Bluffton 93, Franklin 88
Beavers take sole possession of first place in HCAC with 93-88 victory over Franklin
By Molly Burnell, sports information assistant
January 11, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio -The Bluffton University men's basketball team defeated the Franklin College Grizzlies (9-5, 1-2 HCAC) 93-88 in Founder's Hall on Wednesday, January 11, 2006. The #21 ranked Beavers move to 13-1 on the season and are unblemished in the conference with a 3-0 mark. Senior Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore) drained nine three-pointers in the victory tying the Bluffton single-game three-point record currently held by Dave Sheldon who knocked down nine treys in1996-97 against Wilmington and in 1997-98 versus Defiance.
Bergman and fellow senior Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa Glandorf) started the Beavers off by each scoring in the opening minute
of the game. Bluffton took an early 4-0 lead over the Grizzles until Luke Tudor hit a jump shot to put Franklin on the board. Franklin senior Nick Kane connected on a layup to tie the game at four less than three minutes into the contest.
Bergman knocked down one of his nine three-pointers, but Franklin's Matt Glover responded with a trey of his own to give the Grizzles a three point advantage at
the 16:18 mark. Tough defense by both teams and a patient offense by Franklin pushed
the Grizzles to a seven point lead (23-16) with less than ten minutes to play in the
half. Bluffton came back with a scoring drive of its own as Sweet connected for two
points and junior Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St Henry) slashed his way to six points cutting the Franklin lead to two
midway through the period. Tudor and Kane nailed shots from the charity stripe before
Bergman sank another triple to tie the game at 30 with 5:55 remaining. Bluffton and
Franklin traded baskets before two Sweet free throws gave the Beavers a three point
advantage. Bergman drained a long distance trifecta as time expired in the opening
stanza to give Bluffton a five point halftime advantage (39-34).
The Beavers started out on fire in the second half as Sweet hit a lay-up, Bergman nailed another trey and Schwieterman connected on a jump shot to give Bluffton an eight point lead (46-38). Bluffton and Franklin went on a scoring drought over the next three minutes until a Bergman three-pointer gave the Beavers an 11 point lead with 15:52 to play. Kane, who finished with a team-high 32 points and 11 boards, hit a layup and a foul shot for a three-point play seconds later to cut into the Bluffton lead (49-41). Junior Michael Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. Johns) responded with a jumper and foul shot of his own to push the Beavers' lead to 11. Franklin remained aggressive as two Nick Kane layups cut the Bluffton advantage to six points with 13:46 remaining. Freshman Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) took a Tom Heil (Stow/Archbishop Hoban) pass and drained a trey to put Bluffton back on top by nine points with just under 12 minutes to play. Tight defense and disciplined shooting by the Beavers kept the game within ten points over the next nine minutes. A Luke Tudor three-pointer cut the Bluffton lead to six points with one minute left in the contest. The Grizzles sent the Beavers to the charity stripe seven times in the remaining two minutes of the game. Bluffton connected on 13-14 free throws as the final seconds ticked off the clock to clinch the victory by a final score of 93-88.
On the evening, the Beavers shot 59 percent from the field (29-49) compared to Franklin's
47 percent (31-65). The Grizzles won the battle on the boards as they pulled down
29 rebounds to Bluffton's 27 boards. Both teams shot well from the foul line as the
Beavers hit 78 percent (25-32) and Franklin finished the contest 17-22 for 77 percent.
Bergman led Bluffton with a season-high 43 points, including 9-12 from three-point range and 14-18 from the field. The senior guard also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out two assists. Sweet saw limited action due to foul trouble but was able to knock in 18 points, pull down a team-high seven rebounds and block two shots on the evening. Schwieterman rounded out double-digit scoring for Bluffton with 11 points; he also added a career-high nine assists. Anthony finished with nine points, three boards and three assists. Senior Darren Clark (Plain City/Jonathan Alder) contributed four points and handed out five assists in the victory.
Bluffton will return to action on Saturday, January 14, 2006 when it travels to face #25 Transylvania University in another Heartland Conference battle. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.