2013-14 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 86, Knox 65
November 15, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Ill. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team rode a 47-27 first half to a season-opening victory over Knox College on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. The Beavers kicked off the Illinois College Tip-Off Tournament with a convincing 86-65 win thanks to a dominating 54-22 edge on points in the paint.
A bucket by Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) and five points from fellow senior Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) helped Bluffton to a 7-4 lead less than two minutes into the contest. It was still a one-possession game until Bluffton went on a 13-2 spurt midway though the period to make it 29-15 with 9:15 to play in the half. Sophomore Nate Chambers (Miamisburg) capped the run with a deuce in the paint.
With Bluffton leading 41-25 and just under two minutes to play in the opening stanza, junior ball handler Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) sandwiched a pair of hoops around a Thayne Recker (Arlington) chip shot which pushed the lead to 20 points at the break. Pope blistered the nets for 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in period one.
Following consecutive Pope baskets early in the second half, Knox trimmed the deficit to 51-39 with 14:40 to play in the game. A Brock Homier (Continental) layup ignited a seven-point Bluffton run that Recker capped with a hoop and harm at the 12:44 mark. Another old-fashioned three-point play by Recker pushed the lead to 21 points (65-44) at the mid-point of the second 20 minutes.
Knox had one last gasp at the five-minute mark as Bluffton saw its margin slip to 14 points, but Pope and Chambers combined for eight points down the stretch to ensure Bluffton of a season-opening victory over the Prairie Fire.
Will Pope picked right up where he left off last season, leading all scorers with a career-high 29 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field. He added five rebounds and three assists for the victors. Recker hit for 16 points on 5-of-7 from the field and he pulled down six boards while draining all six of his free throw attempts. Kinn and Chambers added 13 points apiece. Kinn also grabbed a game-high seven boards for the Beavers.
Bluffton was an efficient 35-of-60 from the field (58.3 percent) compared to 24-of-56 (42.9 percent) for Knox. The Beavers pulled down 10 more rebounds (35-25) and turned it over just 11 times in the win. Bluffton was a superb 15-of-17 at the charity stripe (88.2 percent).
The Beavers will jump back into action on Saturday, Nov. 16, when Bluffton tackles host Illinois College at 4 p.m. (EST).