BC drops pair of close HCAC gamesBy Tim Stried
January 13, 2003
|Special to: The Bluffton News (Jan. 16), The Witmarsum (Jan. 17), Alumni e-newsletter (Jan. 14), but you read it here first.
After winning four games in a row, the Bluffton College men's basketball team dropped a pair of close games last week in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Bluffton is now 6-8 overall and 0-5 in the HCAC and will play two games on the road this week as the Beavers travel to Thomas More College on Jan. 15 and to Transylvania University on Jan. 18.
Senior Mike Leimeister continues to lead the HCAC in scoring as he is now averaging 23.0 points per game to go along with 8.1 rebounds per game, which ranks second in the league. He was named the HCAC player-of-the-week last week to earn the third such honor of his career.
Jan. 8: BC 53, Franklin 65
A visiting Franklin College squad snapped Bluffton's four-game winning streak Wed. night with a 65-53 win over the Beavers in Founders Hall.
Leimeister, who was double and triple teamed all night, tied his career-high with 12 rebounds and scored 12 points to notch his sixth career double-double. Franklin held Leimeister 12 points under his season average.
Bluffton held Franklin to 22 field goals, the fewest by any opponent this season, but the Grizzlies' defense was just as good as Franklin held BC to a season-low 53 points and a .397 shooting percentage from the field, including a .300 effort in the first half as Franklin built at 34-20 lead at halftime.
A lay-up by Leimeister gave Bluffton an 8-6 lead after five minutes had gone by in the game and BC trailed by just two points at 16-14 with eight minutes left before halftime, but it would be all the closer the Beavers would get as Franklin led by 14 at the intermission and didn't let Bluffton get any closer than 11 in the second half.
Senior Derek DeNero and sophomore Bryce Beilharz both scored 10 points for Bluffton. Franklin, which upset 12th-ranked Hanover College last Sat., improves to 5-8 overall and 2-2 in the HCAC.
Bluffton made a 3-pointer for the 255nd game in a row, but waited almost too long to do it as senior Marcus Bixler's trey with 1:59 left in the game was BC's first 3-pointer of the game. The Beavers finished the game with two 3-pointers, which tied their season low. Bluffton's 5-for-10 performance at the free throw line was also a season low for both attempts and makes.
Jan. 11: BC 87, Anderson 89
Bluffton out-rebounded Anderson University 39-33 and shot over 14 percentage points better from the field, but the Beavers came up just a bit short in their bid for their first HCAC win of the season Sat. afternoon, falling 89-87 in Anderson, Ind.
Senior Marcus Bixler led all scorers with a career-high 20 points and tied a career-high with three 3-pointers. He dished out a season-high nine assists, while DeNero added 17 points as both players tied for game-high rebounding honors with seven. Junior Brad Boyles scored 12 points in the second half to end the game with 16.
Leimeister, playing at less than 100% due to an ankle injury, was held 10 points under his season average as he finished with 14 points.
Bluffton connected on an impressive 9-of-18 three-pointers in the game, while Anderson was just 8-of-32 from trey land, but the Ravens drilled three 3-pointers in a row during a one-minute span midway through the second half to stay in the game at a juncture when Bluffton made 10-of-13 shots to take a five-point lead. Anderson's 32 3-point attempts were the most that BC has faced this season.
Bluffton scored the first eight points of the game but Anderson came back to take a 22-19 lead with 11:32 left before halftime. The Ravens led by as many as seven points late in the first halftime but led by just one point at the intermission, 43-42. Bluffton took their biggest lead of the game at 60-55 with 11:40 left to play but a 13-5 Anderson run at that point gave the lead back to the Ravens at 68-55 with 9:16 remaining.
Anderson would hold that lead until Leimeister hit a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left to tie the score at 86-86. BC had just one field goal attempt the rest of the way, however, and AU connected on 3-of-4 foul shots to take the win.
Bluffton's point total of 87 was its highest in an HCAC game this season, but Anderson, which improves to 11-3 overall and 4-0 in the HCAC, scored 23 points off 20 Bluffton turnovers, while the Ravens committed just nine turnovers themselves as Bluffton collected a season-low two steals.