Defiance 82, Bluffton 54
Yellow Jackets sting Beavers 82-54 at Defiance
By Bill Hanefeld Jr., sports information director
February 15, 2006
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team fell to 16-8, 6-7 HCAC following its 82-54 loss at the hands of the Defiance College Yellow Jackets who improved to 9-14 overall, 2-11 in the HCAC. The Beavers trailed by only five points (33-28) at the half but Defiance swarmed Bluffton in the second stanza on its way to a 28-point victory.
C. J. Johnson buried consecutive triples during the first two minutes of the game to give the Jackets a 6-1 lead before Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) sliced his way to the hoop. Freshman Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville), who led the Beavers with 16 points and 10 rebounds, hit three consecutive baskets to give the Beavers a 9-8 advantage with 15:20 to play in the first half. Curt Croy, one of three Ottawa-Glandorf graduates in the contest, capped a 9-2 Defiance run when he nailed a jumper at the 11:11 mark. Rufenacht followed Tom Heil (Stow/Archbishop Hoban) and Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore) trifectas with a pair of runners to pull the Beavers to within one (23-22) with just under seven minutes remaining in the half. When another Ottawa-Glandorf graduate, Matt Laudick, brought the house down with his dunk at the 4:16 mark, he gave Defiance a seven-point lead (31-24). Bergman hit his second triple of the contest with 3:27 remaining, but Laudick answered with another score to put the Jackets up 33-28 at the break.
Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) scored on the Beavers' initial possession of the second half, but Defiance countered with a Bryan Post 3-pointer and another Johnson trifecta to take a 39-30 lead just over a minute into the second stanza. Croy gave the Jackets an 11-point advantage before Rufenacht countered with consecutive jumpers to trim the gap to seven (43-36) with 16:25 to play. Rufenacht again found the basket at the 15:47 mark, but the Beavers then went dry from the field for over seven minutes while Defiance rolled off 20 unanswered points to open up a 28-point lead with 8:48 to play. Bluffton cashed in on 11-12 shots from the charity stripe late in the game but it managed only two baskets, a 3-pointer and a jump shot from freshman Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian), during the final 15:47 of the game as the Yellow Jackets stung the Beavers by a final score of 82-54.
Rufenacht finished with his first collegiate double-double as he led the Beavers with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Bergman was the only other Beaver in double digits as he finished with 10 points and nine boards. Sweet tallied five points and six rebounds in his final regular season reunion with former Ottawa-Glandorf teammates Curt Croy and Matt Laudick.
Bluffton will finish regular season action on Saturday, February 18, 2006 when it travels to face HCAC foe Manchester. The contest will tip-off at 3 p.m.