Carthage 69, Bluffton 63
Bluffton falls to Carthage in Buzz Ridl final, 69-63
November 17, 2007
NEW WILMINGTON, Penn. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team struggled with turnovers for the second consecutive game as Carthage captured the Buzz Ridl Classic title despite shooting only 29 percent from the field (20-of-68). The Beavers dropped to 1-1 on the season following their loss to Carthage on Saturday, November 17, 2007.
A pair of Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental) layins sandwiched around a Drew Clady (New Bavaria/Holgate) bucket gave the Beavers an early 6-2 advantage less than three minutes into the game. The Bluffton lead was short lived as Carthage rolled off six straight points to take a lead that they never relinquished.
Following a P.J. Juenger free throw at the 15:36 mark, the Bluffton offense went south and failed to score until junior Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp) hit the back end of a two shot foul with 9:24 to play in the first half, a six-minute scoreless stretch. During that span, Bluffton coughed the ball up six times, however, Carthage found the rims unkind as well, scoring only three points for an 11-8 lead over the Beavers.
Bluffton continued to struggle over the next five minutes, finding the hoop for three paltry points as the Red Men opened up a commanding 26-11 advantage with 4:33 to play in the opening half.
Junior Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) slowed the onslaught with a hoop and Taylor and Wilson hit consecutive baskets to trim the deficit to nine points with 2:38 on the clock. Taylor and Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) combined for six points in the final two minutes of the half to make the score 29-23 Carthage at the break.
Wilson opened the second half with four straight points to cut margin to four, 31-27, the closest the Beavers came in the final stanza. An Overmyer triple with just under 15 minutes to play in the contest made the score 38-32, but an 11-6 run by the Red Men upped the lead to 11 points three minutes later.
Wilson's long-range three-pointer at the 8:23 mark broke a three-minute scoreless stretch for both teams and when Taylor knocked down a pair from the foul line 30 seconds later, the Carthage lead was cut to six points again.
Juenger hit from in close to make it a five-point game with 7:15 to play, but a Billy Shemerdiak triple and three Steve Djurickovic free throws gave Carthage a 60-52 lead with just 2:11 on the clock.
The Beavers got as close as seven points following a Taylor bucket with a minute to play before Overmyer's last second three-pointer made the final score 69-63 in favor of the Red Men.
Taylor bucketed a career-high 21 points in only 22 minutes on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Wilson and Overmyer added 13 and 11 points, respectively. Wilson and sophomore Josh Eichar (North Baltimore/North Baltimore) cleaned the glass with eight boards each. Cunningham found his teammates for three assists while Juenger paced the Beavers with three blocks. For their efforts over the weekend, Aaron Taylor and Nick Wilson were named to the Buzz Ridl Classic All-Tournament Team.
Although the Beavers pulled down 47 rebounds, compared to 40 for the Red Men, a 21-of-54 shooting night (39 percent) and 19 turnovers proved too much to overcome. Bluffton hit 17-of-21 at the free throw line while Carthage converted on 22-of-28 foul shot attempts.
The Beavers will return home to face Wright State-Lake on Tuesday, November 20, following the women's basketball game with Earlham College at 6 p.m. The contest is slated to start at 8 p.m. in Founders Hall.