Kalamazoo 67, Bluffton 62
Bluffton's cold shooting helps Kalamazoo to 67-62 victory
December 18, 2007
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - A poor shooting night and a lopsided 51-37 Kalamazoo edge on the boards proved to be the difference as the Bluffton University men's basketball team fell to the Hornets by a final score of 67-62 on Tuesday, December 18, 2007. With the loss, Bluffton dropped to 6-4 on the season, while Kalamazoo improved to 2-7 with its home court victory.
The Beavers jumped out to an early 6-4 lead on the strength of two three-point plays from junior center Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental), the first a triple from the top of the key and the second an old-fashioned hoop and harm. Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) hit from long-range and senior P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) dropped in a pair from the charity stripe to give the Beavers an 11-6 lead less than five minutes into the contest.
Cunningham freed himself for a bucket in the paint and Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) dialed long-distance to make it 16-7 less than two minutes later.
The Hornets tied the game with a 10-1 run over the next three and a half minutes before Juenger slowed the rally with trifecta at the 8:23 mark of the first half. Josh Eichar (North Baltimore/North Baltimore) and Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) both hit from in close to put the Beavers back on top by five, 24-19, with 7:13 to play in the opening period.
With 6:05 on the clock, sophomore Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) made it 26-20 in favor of the visitors when he took a feed from Wilson and buried his jumper.
A 10-2 spurt by Kalamazoo, which was highlighted by four points each from Mat Kellogg and Verelle Kirkwood, gave the Hornets a 30-28 lead with less than two minutes to play in the half, but Overmyer answered the call with a deep trey which put the Beavers on top 31-30 at the break.
Kalamazoo scored six straight to open the second half before a Kraus basket cut the Beavers' deficit to three points at the 17:54 mark. Henry McCain picked up a steal at mid-court and brought the house down with a thunderous dunk less than two minutes later to push the Kalamazoo lead back up to five points.
Nine Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp) points in less than two minutes gave the Beavers a 44-40 lead with 13:41 to play in the game, but Kirkwood collected a Bluffton miss and found Kellogg all alone for the Hornets' second throw down of the game. Taylor hit from outside the arc to push the lead back to five with 12 minutes to play.
The Hornets used a 13-0 jag over a span of five minutes to go up by a 55-47 count with less than seven minutes remaining in the game.
The Beavers responded with 10 straight points, including four free throws and a couple more Overmyer bombs which made the score 57-55 in favor of Bluffton.
In a game of runs, the Hornets put together nine consecutive points when it needed them the most as Kalamazoo opened up a 64-57 advantage with only 44 seconds remaining on the clock.
Overmyer fired in his fifth triple of the game and Cunningham hit a pair of freebies with six seconds left, but the Hornets held on for a 67-62 victory over the Beavers.
Bluffton was led by Nate Overmyer who tallied 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from outside the arc. Taylor added 12 points and Juenger chipped in with eight. Kraus and Eichar, who picked up a career-high six steals, both pulled down eight rebounds to pace the Beavers.
Mat Kellogg (16 points and 13 rebounds) and Henry McCain (10 points and 14 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles for the Hornets. Pat Clancy hit for 14 points in the victory.
Bluffton hit only 20-of-64 shots from the field for 31 percent and the Beavers lost the battle on the boards by a count of 51-37, including 17 offensive caroms by the Hornets.
The Beavers will return to action on Friday, Dec. 28, when they host Millikin in the first round of the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament. Tip time is scheduled for 8 p.m., as it will follow the Concordia and Ohio Dominican contest which is slated for 6 p.m. in Founders Hall.