2013-14 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 58, Manchester 54
By: Blade Tackett, sports information assistant
February 6, 2014
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team cashed in their second straight victory at North Manchester on Wednesday night against the Spartans. The Beavers improved to 8-12 overall and 4-9 in the Heartland Conference, while Manchester fell to 5-15 and 4-9 in the HCAC.
The first half was a battle of defenses as they hit the 10-minute mark with just 24 points combined (14-10 Bluffton). Manchester took a little momentum as they went on a five-point spurt to take a 15-14 lead. The run was silenced as Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) scored seven straight points for the Beavers with three layups inside, including a hoop and harm that shifted momentum back to the Bluffton side.
An 11-5 run in the last five minutes pushed the Beavers to a 32-22 lead going into the break. Bluffton got production from multiple players in the first half, led on defense by Thayne Recker (Arlington) who pulled down six boards. Senior Will Pope and freshman Austin Rohde (Shelby) paced Bluffton offensively in the first half with nine and seven points, respectively.
Manchester was down but not out as they turned up the pressure right away in the second half, cutting the lead to one just three minutes in. A layup from Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) plus a steal and two buckets from sophomore Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) settled the Beavers back down. Over the next 10 minutes the visitors were able to stretch to a comfortable lead of 12 points.
However, Jon Thompson helped the Spartans claw their way back as they trimmed the lead to three with 45 seconds left in the contest. Manchester would get the ball back with 19 seconds left and a chance to tie the game. A foul on Billy Taflinger sent Grant Newlin to the line with just seven ticks remaining. He cashed in the first to cut the lead to two points. Newlin missed the second but the rebound went to Jarod Schrock who kicked it out to Chase Casteel for a potential game-winning three! Luckily, Casteel missed the shot before Thayne Recker ripped down the board and sealed the game with two final free throws and a final score of 58-54 in favor of Bluffton.
The visitors were led by freshman Austin Rohde who scored a career-high 12 points. Taflinger continued his constent play with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Will Pope followed closely behind with 10, and Dustin Kinn added nine markers. Thayne Recker continued to dominate the boards as he pulled down 10 total.
Bluffton shot 21-of-58 from the field (36.2 percent) and 13-for-19 from the line (68.4 percent). The Beavers recorded 41 rebounds, 10 assists and 12 turnovers. Manchester shot similarly from the field, going 15-of-41 (36.6 percent) and 21-of-31 (67.7 percent) from the line, with 32 rebounds but only four assists and 12 turnovers.
The Beavers jump back into action on Saturday, Feb. 8, when they travel to Franklin College. The men are slated to play the early game at 2 p.m.