Bluffton defeats Denison 78-74 in overtime, preps for holiday tournamentBy Tim Stried
December 23, 2002
|Special to: The Bluffton News (Dec. 26) and the Alumni e-newsletter (Dec. 24), but you read it here first.
The Bluffton College men's basketball team trailed Denison University for most of the second half but came back to tie the game at the end of regulation and force overtime, where the Beavers outscored the Big Red 13-9 to take a 78-74 win Saturday afternoon in Founders Hall.
Bluffton is now 3-6 overall and will host the Fifth Annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament on Mon. and Tues., Dec. 30 and 31, in Founders Hall. The Beavers will take on Madonna University (Mich.) at 8 p.m. on the 30th following the Kenyon vs. Muskingum contest, which tips off at 6 p.m. Game times for the 31st are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Senior Mike Leimeister scored 31 points in the win over Denison and is the only BC player to have scored in double-figures in every game so far this season. He leads the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in scoring (23.8 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Junior Brad Boyles ranks second in the HCAC in field goal shooting percentage (.617), while senior Marcus Bixler ranks third in both steals (2.3 spg) and assists (4.0 apg).
After the holiday tournament, BC will travel to Adrian College (Mich.) on Jan. 4 (live broadcast on WDOH 107.1 FM) before returning home on Wed., Jan. 8 to take on HCAC foe Franklin College (Ind.) at 7:30 p.m.
BC 78, Denison 74
Leimeister's 31 points led all scorers and marked his eighth career 30+ points game, while Bixler scored a career-high 19 points, with nine of those points coming in the extra period as he hit a 3-pointer and made six free throws.
The two teams traded leads in the first half and went to the locker room tied at halftime 37-37. Denison went up by as many as six points in the second half but Bixler hit a 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining in regulation and then a lay-up with 0:52 to play to tie the game at 65-65.
Bluffton missed a 3-pointer and a lay-up on the game's final possession in regulation, but the Beavers took control of the game in overtime to snap a four-game losing skid.
Sophomore Bryce Beilharz scored seven points and tied a career high with four rebounds, while senior Derek DeNero scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Bluffton, which saw their first overtime action of the season, committed a season-low seven turnovers and converted 22-of-29 free throw attempts. The win was the first of the season for BC when being out-rebounded by their opponent (now 1-6 when that happens) and also the first of the season when shooting less than 50% from the floor (now 1-4 when that happens). In addition, the win was the first this season for BC when their opponent shoots better from the floor than they do (now 1-3 when that happens).