2011-12 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 87, Grove City 68
Six Beavers hit for double digits in 87-68 win over Grove City
December 30, 2011
By: Josh Bruner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team won its second straight McDonald's Holiday Tournament. The Beavers took an early lead, outscoring Grove City 49-33 in the first half. Bluffton continued to control the game, finishing off the 87-68 victory to claim the McDonald's championship for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. The Beavers moved to 7-4, while Grove City fell to 5-6 on the season.
Bluffton opened the game with a Mychal Hill (London/Jon. Alder) deep ball take a quick 3-0 lead. Grove City responded and took its first lead (6-5) following a Nate Rambacher jumper three minutes into the game. A Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) three-pointer made it 8-6, but Grove City battled back once again, taking a 12-11 lead after a J.T. Schwartz three put them up at the 15:34 mark.
The Beavers dropped in five unanswered points to take a 16-12 advantage just six minutes into the first period. Bluffton then used a 9-2 run over a two-minute span as a Nick Lee (Vanlue) three put Bluffton on top 27-19. The Wolverines slowly battled back and were able to pull within four (29-25) at the six-minute mark.
Bluffton took control of the game with a 14-2 jag, opening a 43-27 lead after a Fisher deep ball with just 2:39 left in the half. The Wolverines were unable to make a dent in the lead as they traded buckets and the Beavers went into the half with a 49-33 edge.
The second half started slowly for Bluffton. The home team was unable to find the bottom of the net until the 18-minute mark when a Fisher trey pushed the lead back to 15 points. Bluffton started to get more separation as a Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) chip shot at the 15-minute mark gave the Beavers their largest lead of the night, 59-41.
Grove City rallied for a 9-1 run, finished off by a Brett Matson three-pointer which made the score 60-50 with just 11:20 left in the game. Neither team found an advantage over the next five minutes as the Beavers maintained their 10-point spread (71-61) following a Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) hoop-and-harm.
Four consecutive Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) free throws pushed the lead to 75-64 at the 4:29 mark. The Beavers sealed the win as they jumped to a 20-point advantage (86-66) following two Lee free throws with just over a minute to play. The Wolverines were unable to overcome the deficit as Bluffton added another victory to its resume.
The Beavers had six players in double figures, led by Fisher with 16 (4-of-6 from distance) and Hill with 13. Heckelman finished the game with his first career double-double, grabbing 11 boards and bucketing 11 points on the night. Lee chipped in 11 while Tyler Neal (Bluffton) and Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) each added 10 for the Bluffton offense. Neal's 10 markers were a career high for the junior guard. Farley just missed out on a double-double with nine points and nine caroms. He and Nick Lee both handed out four assists for the victors
The Wolverines had three players reach double digits. Matson finished with a double-double, pulling in 10 rebounds and adding 13 points. Christian Durbin chipped in 13 while Kris Verderber added 10.
Bluffton shot well from the field, going 32-of-66 (48.5 percent), including an outstanding 11-of-23 from deep (47.8 percent). The Beavers struggled from the line, converting just 12-of-21 (57.1 percent). Grove City connected on 27-of-58 (46.6 percent) and 5-of-16 from behind the arc (31.3 percent). The Wolverines hit 9-of-12 from the charity stripe. Bluffton had the advantage on the glass, pulling in three more boards than the visitors (36-33). The Wolverines turned it over five more times (15-10).
Mychal Hill was named the tournament MVP for the second consecutive year while Brent Farley, Brett Matson and Kris Verderber were all named to the all-tournament team.
The Beavers will be back in action next Wednesday, January 4, when they host the Yellow Jackets of Defiance as Heartland Conference action resumes. The contest is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. following the women's game in Founders Hall.