2011-12 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 52, Mount St. Joseph 39
Bluffton defense smothers Lions in 52-39 win at MSJ
November 30, 2011
By: Josh Bruner, sports information assistant
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team traveled to Cincinnati to face the College of Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The teams matched up evenly during the first half as they went to the break tied at 22 points apiece. The Beavers took off in the second period, outscoring the Lions 30-17.
Bluffton improved to 5-0 for the second consecutive season and just the third time in school history. A victory over Franklin on Saturday would equal the 1965-66 squad for the best start in Bluffton men's basketball history. The 39 points scored by the Lions was Bluffton's top defensive effort since a 69-32 win over IU-Kokomo on November 25, 1989. The Lions, winners of their first three contests, fell to 3-2 overall with a 0-1 mark in the HCAC.
The Lions started the game with a bang, knocking down a three on the first possession from David Mann. They added to lead with another Mann jumper. The Beavers finally found the bottom of the net after six minutes of play thanks to a Steve Swick (Elida) layup which made the score 5-2.
Bluffton continued to pile up the points over the next three minutes, going on an 11-0 run to take a six-point (11-5) lead. Sophomore Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) took advantage of The Mount's interior defense with four consecutive layups in a 2:17 span, including a hoop and harm. MSJ finally put an end to the scoring drought with two free throws to pull within four at the 10:45 mark.
The Lions slowly chipped away at the deficit as they tied the game at 15-15 with just six minutes left in the half. A Nick Lee (Vanlue) layup followed by four points from Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) quickly pushed the visitor edge back to six with just two minutes left in the period. The Lions responded and a layup from Clifford Cass at the buzzer tied the game 22-22 heading to the break.
Bluffton came out of the half and quickly took control. Just three minutes into the second stanza, a Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) layup put the Beavers up 29-22. MSJ once again cut into the lead as another Mann layup made the score 31-27 at the 13:14 mark.
The Beavers quickly regained their momentum when a Josh Johnson (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) trifecta gave Bluffton a 34-27 lead with just 12 minutes left to play. The Lions finally ended a three-minute drought at the 9:20 mark with a V.J. Evans layup.
The Beavers followed with two consecutive buckets, including a Mychal Hill (London/Jonathan Alder) deep ball that gave Bluffton its first double-digit lead of the night, 39-29. A Farley free throw pushed the lead to 47-33 with 4:25 left on the clock.
The visitors continued to add to the lead as a Farley layup gave Bluffton a 52-35 lead with under two minutes to play. MSJ added four counters in the final minute, but the Beavers took their first HCAC matchup of the year, 52-39.
The Bluffton offense was led by Farley with 13 points, going 5-of-6 from the field while pulling down five rebounds. Pope also added double digits, going 5-of-7 from the field for 11 points. Lee chipped in with seven markers, while Hill and Johnson chimed in with six apiece. Johnson went 2-of-3 from behind the arc. The MSJ scoring was evenly distributed as Cass and Mann each dropped in nine and David Lane added seven for the Lions.
The Beavers proved more effective from the field, hitting 19-of-37 (51.4 percent), while MSJ struggled to a 14-of-47 (29.8 percent) shooting night. Bluffton also outshot the Lions from deep, hitting 4-of-11 (36.4 percent) compared to 3-of-20 (15 percent). MSJ had that advantage from the line, going 8-of-10 (80 percent), while Bluffton struggled with 10-of-18 shooting at the stripe (55.6 percent). The Beavers dominated the glass, hauling in 32 boards, compared to 25 for the Lions.
The Bluffton University men's basketball team will continue HCAC action on Saturday, Dec. 3, when they host Franklin following the women's game with the Grizzlies. The contest is slated to begin at 4 PM in Founders Hall.