2013-14 Men's Basketball
Manchester 68, Bluffton 67
By: Blade Tackett, sports information assistant
January 22, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team let a 12-point second half lead slip away as the Manchester University Spartans stole a 68-67 victory over the Beavers on Wednesday, Jan. 22, in the Sommer Center. Bluffton fell to 6-10 overall and 2-7 in the Heartland Conference, while Manchester improved to 3-13 overall and 2-7 in the HCAC.
With just over six minutes left in the game the Beavers held a commanding 62-50 lead over the visitors. The final minutes would tell a different story, however. Behind the inspired play of Brady Dolezal the Spartans slowly crept back into contention as they trimmed their deficit to one with a 1:01 left in the contest. A free throw by Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) was followed up by an old-fashioned three-point play from Dolezal as the Spartans took their first lead of the half with just under 20 seconds on the clock.
Billy Taflinger was not deterred as he hit a runner with eight seconds left and filled the Sommer Center with life once again. Unfortunately, eight seconds was more than enough time for Dolezal to drive the length of the floor and hit a floater in the middle of the key to win the game, 68-67.
Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) and Billy Taflinger led Bluffton with their continued consistent play. Ebbeskotte established a new career best in scoring tonight, for the second straight game, with 20 points and Taflinger also equaled his career high with 20 markers. Taflinger was 8-of-13 from the field, while Ebbeskotte went 3-of-4 from distance and was a perfect 5-of-5 at the stripe.
Although Manchester jumped out to an early eight-point lead in the first half, Bluffton clawed back and regained momentum with a three and a charge from freshman Austin Rohde (Shelby). A jumper by Ebbeskotte and a layup at the buzzer from Taflinger gave the Beavers a two-point lead (34-32) at the break.
Bluffton shot 21-50 (42.0 percent) from the field, including 45 percent behind the arc (9-of-20). Manchester was an efficient 21-for-37 from the field for 56.8 percent and 45 percent from distance. Recker chipped in with eight markers and freshman Trey Elchert (Jackson Center) added six. Brady Dolezal scored a game-high 30 points, shooting 8-of-9 from the field and 12-of-14 at the stripe. Jon Thompson had a solid game, going 6-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 on triples for 19 points.
The Beavers get back to work this Saturday, Jan. 25, against Anderson while Manchester hosts Earlham. The men tip at 2 p.m. on Alumni and Hall of Fame Day in the Sommer Center.