Bluffton 68, Manchester 50
Beavers improve to 11-1 with 68-50 victory over Manchester
By Molly Burnell, sports information assistant
January 4, 2006
The Bluffton University men's basketball team (11-1, 1-0 HCAC) defeated Manchester College (3-8, 0-1 HCAC) by a final score of 68-50 in Founders Hall on Wednesday, January 4, 2006. The Beavers recently were selected to the d3hoops.com top 25 where they currently rank 25th in the nation. With the victory Bluffton extends its winning streak to a men's basketball record nine games and a 1-0 record in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action.
The Beavers started out the contest on fire as they connected on four three-pointers in the first three minutes of the game. Seniors Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore), and Darren Clark (Plain City/Jonathan Alder) along with juniors Michael Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. Johns) and Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) all nailed triples to put the Beavers up 14-8. Manchester would not stay down as an Eric Berger layup started the Spartans comeback with just over 14 minutes to play in the half. Over the next three minutes Bluffton connected on only one of eight shot attempts as senior Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa Glandorf) found the basket to give the team a five point lead (16-11). The Spartans played tight defense and turned missed Bluffton shots into points as they trimmed the Beaver advantage to one point with ten minutes to play. Anthony ended the scoring drought when he nailed two free throws to put Bluffton back on top by three points. Defense was the key as the Beavers opened up a seven point lead with six minutes remaining in the half. Once again Manchester battled back and took their first and only lead of the contest with under two minutes to play as Jake Koziel dialed long distance for a three pointer that put the Spartans up 30-29. A Ricky Reucher (Toledo/Central Catholic) layup and a Bergman steal propelled Bluffton to a halftime lead of four points, 34-30.
Bluffton came out ready to defend in the second half as they went on a 13-0 run which was capped by another Clark trifecta. Wes Gardner broke the ice when he hit a jumper with 16 minutes to play. Sweet and Anthony combined for eight points in the opening minutes of the second stanza. Bluffton played solid defense and took advantage of Manchester's miscues to maintain a 14 point lead until Clark connected on the third of his three treys pushing the Beaver lead to 17 points with less than five minutes to play. Bergman nailed two free throws and junior David Patch (Minster/Minster) added a bucket in the final minutes to guide Bluffton to an 18 point victory, 68-50. The Beavers dominated the second half making 68% of their shots while pulling down 16 rebounds. Bluffton was 8-17 (47 percent) from three point range and 8-12 (67 percent) from the charity stripe in the contest.
Bergman led Bluffton with 16 points, nine of which came from three pointers. The senior also dished out five assists and pulled down four rebounds. Sweet added 11 points, six boards and four assists for the Beavers. Anthony scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Schwieterman rounded out the double-digit scoring for the Beavers with ten points and four steals in the victory. Clark contributed nine points and four assists while Patch added seven points.
Bluffton will return to action on Saturday, January 7 when they travel to face #24 Hanover College in an HCAC match-up. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.