Hanover 86, Bluffton 78
Hanover slips by Bluffton 86-78
By Molly Burnell, sports information assistant
January 28, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio -The Bluffton University men's basketball team fell to the Hanover College Panthers 86-78 on Saturday January 28, 2006 in Founder's Hall. With the loss the Beavers fall to 15-4, 5-3 HCAC, and Hanover moves to 12-7, 5-3 HCAC. Bluffton is now in a four way tie for second place in the Heartland Conference as the Beavers along with Hanover, Franklin College, and Mount St. Joseph all post a 5-3 conference record.
Senior Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore) started things out for the Beavers and Ben Lye got the game moving for the Panthers as the two scored the first ten points of the contest as Hanover took an early 4-6 lead. Bluffton turned up the defense as they went on an 8 point run, holding the Panthers to zero points over three minutes. Brock Dawson ended the Beaver dominance when he nailed a long distance triple to cut the Bluffton advantage to three points (12-9) with 14:35 to play. Lay ups by junior Eric Schweiterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) and sophomore P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) extended the Beaver lead to seven points (16-9) at the 13:44 mark. Over the next five minutes Bluffton would be plagued by missed shots and fouls as Hanover took advantage of the Beavers misfortune and a Robby Brown lay up along with seven Dawson buckets cut the Bluffton lead to one point with 8:24 to play. Senior Darren Clark (Plain City/Jonathan Alder) lit up the net for Bluffton as he drained two three pointers and managed a lay up to keep the contest close. Dawson and Lye would not be outdone as they combined for nine points to tie the game at 27 with less than five minutes left in the half. Neither team managed many shots in the remaining minutes of game as defense became the key. A lay up by Dan O'Leary gave Hanover their first lead of the contest with four minutes to play (29-27). Bluffton challenged again as two Bergman free throws pushed the Beavers within three points, before a buzzer beating shot by the Panther's Brian Chrin gave Hanover a five point half time advantage, 29-34.
Bluffton started the second half strong as an Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa Glandorf) lay up cut the Panther lead to one point. Bergman and Chad Talpas nailed back-to-back shots to tie the game at 38 at the 16:58 mark. Both teams battled hard and connected on shots when they could, as Bergman scored Bluffton's only points over the next five minutes, 11. Hanover managed 19 points to take a ten point (49-59) lead with 10:50 to play in the contest. Sweet and Clark connected on two free throws a piece before another Sweet lay up brought the Beavers within six points (61-55). The Panthers forced Bluffton turnovers and shot wise baskets to regain a ten point lead (55-66) with six minutes to play. The Beavers kept the game close in the remaining minutes as shots by Clark, and Bergman forced Hanover to take wild shots and pick up key fouls. A three pointer by junior David Patch (Minster/Minster) cut the Panther lead to six points. Bluffton got no closer as fouling by both teams forced free throws and Hanover took the contest by a final score of 86-78.
Bergman led the Beavers with 32 points including 14-14 from the charity stripe. He also pulled down five rebounds and dished out two assists. Clark had a career afternoon as he poured in a 25 points including five shots from behind the arch. Schweiterman grabbed a team high nine rebounds and dished out six assists on the afternoon. Sweet who fouled out with six minutes remaining in the contest scored nine points and managed six rebounds. Sweet broke his own school record for blocks in a season with four on the contest and moves to 52 total blocks for the year.
Bluffton will return to action on Wednesday, February 1, 2006 when it travels to face HCAC rival Franklin College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.