2013-14 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 76, Hanover 66
By: Blade Tackett, sports information assistant
February 1, 2014
HANOVER, Ind. - A career-high 32 points by sophomore Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) powered Bluffton to its first win of 2014 over a talented Hanover College squad on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Beavers snapped an eight-game skid while improving to 7-12 overall and 3-9 in the Heartland Conference. Hanover (12-7, 8-4 HCAC) fell to fourth place in the conference thanks to Taflinger's outburst which was the first 30-point game for a Beaver since Josh Fisher accomplished it twice in 2011.
Senior Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) scored four quick points to put Bluffton up 4-0 less than 40 seconds into the game. The home team retaliated with 10 straight to take a six-point lead at the 17:04 mark. Taflinger hit back-to-back deuces following a Thayne Recker (Arlington) hoop, knotting the game at 10. Two Tim Bass free throws helped Hanover stretch the lead to seven with 3:37 left in the half before Bluffton reclaimed the momentum with an 8-3 run which cut the lead to 29-27 as Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) drained four free throws.
The battle continued into the second half as the teams went back and forth in the first 10 minutes. The Beavers tightened down their defense while Taflinger, Pope, and Recker went to work on the offensive end, scoring Bluffton's only points in the first nine minutes before Blake Green (Delta) hit a clutch three-pointer with 11:10 left to make it a one-point game.
A layup by Pope the following offensive possession put Bluffton ahead with the fifth lead change in the first ten minutes of the second stanza. The final 10 minutes was all Bluffton as Hanover was unable to match Bluffton's intensity. The Beaver defense was too much as they went on a 21-9 run late in the contest. Bluffton sealed the game with free throws, drilling 13-of-15 from the line in the last 1:20 for a satisfying 76-66 victory. Taflinger exploded in the second half with a 25-point performance while Tim Bass did his best to keep Hanover in the game with 15 points himself in the second frame.
Billy Taflinger dropped in runner after runner while going 9-of-14 from the field. He also cashed in with 14-of-17 at the line for his career-high 32 points. Taflinger equaled his career best with seven rebounds and also handed out three assists. Thayne Recker bulldozed his way to a fifth career double-double. He tallied 14 points and ripped down 13 boards which knotted his career best. Will Pope checked in with nine points and freshman Austin Rohde (Shelby) added a career-high eight markers.
Bluffton was extremely efficient from the field, going 22-of-42 (52.4 percent), while Hanover struggled to a 20-of-55 (36.4 percent) afternoon. Both teams took advantage at the charity stripe with Bluffton knocking down 30-of-38 (78.9 percent) and Hanover converting 22-of-28 (78.6 percent). Bluffton turned it over six more times (14-8), but the Beavers dominated on the glass to the tune of a 36-24 advantage. The visitors hit 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) from distance.
The Beavers will take to the road again on Wednesday, Feb. 5, when they travel to North Manchester, Ind. Bluffton faces an improving Manchester University squad at 7:30 p.m.