2011-12 Men's Basketball
Defiance 55, Bluffton 53
Roth layup with 2.5 ticks left lifts Defiance to 55-53 win over Beavers
February 15, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information intern
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker, 55-53, at Defiance on Wednesday, Feb. 15. It was the third Beaver loss in their last four games in which they fell by three points or less. The defeat dropped Bluffton to 15-9 overall (9-8 HCAC), while Defiance improved to 12-12 (8-9 HCAC).
Senior Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) got the Beavers started on the right foot when he took it to the hole on the first possession of the game. Even with the game being a defensive battle early on, Bluffton extended the lead to five (12-7) on a layin by senior Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) with eight and a half minutes remaining in the first period.
However, Defiance got things rolling and went on a 21-6 jag to finish out the half as Bluffton went into the break down 10 points, 28-18.
The Beavers responded with a hot start in the second period. Slowly cutting away at the lead, a trey by Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) trimmed the deficit to three (32-29) with 15:34 remaining. The Yellow Jackets tried to keep pace, but the momentum was all in Bluffton's favor as the visitors took a 40-38 lead on a chip shot by Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) with just under 11 minutes to play.
After battling back and forth, Defiance grabbed the lead back and pushed it to 50-46 on a pair of free throws by Anthony Brown with 5:03 on the clock. The Beavers, however, never gave up and tied the game twice in the remaining minutes; once at 50 and again at 53 when Fisher split a pair from the charity stripe with 27 seconds to play.
But just as the last few losses occurred, Bluffton's opposition made the most of their last chance with the ball as Mason Roth got to the rack with just 2.5 seconds on the clock. When Roth intercepted the inbounds pass, Defiance ran out the clock for a 55-53 victory over their long-time rivals.
Farley paced the Beavers with 15 points and seven boards while Fisher chipped in with 14. Anthony Brown was key to the Jackets' win as he scored 22 of their 55 points while shooting 8-of-14 from the field, including a 30-foot bank shot from straight away with the shot clock winding down, and 5-of-5 at the line.
Bluffton went 20-of-48 (41.7 percent) from the field, while Defiance connected on 20-of-46 (43.5 percent). Where the game was decided was at the foul line as the Beavers struggled, going 11-of-22 (50.0 percent), including missing 3-of-6 in the last 2:41 of the game. The Yellow Jackets hit 11-of-16 (68.6 percent). Bluffton finished 2-of-12 from outside the arc (16.7 percent), compared to Defiance's 4-of-13 (30.8 percent) on triples.
Bluffton returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 18, at home against Transylvania. The Senior Day contest is slated for 4 p.m. in Founders Hall.