Bluffton 82, Manchester 79
Beavers remain atop HCAC standings with 82-79 win over Manchester
By: Shannon Ramer and Jordon Bruner, sports information assistants
February 7, 2007
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers did all they could do to weather the storm as they overcame a hot shooting night by Manchester College to pull out an 82-79 victory on Wednesday, February 7, 2007. The victory moves Bluffton one win closer to an outright regular season HCAC title as the men improved to 17-5 overall and 9-4 in Heartland Conference action.
It took both teams almost two minutes to put their first points on the scoreboard, with Jamaal Wade dropping in a three-pointer to jump start the Spartans.
The Beavers countered with back-to-back baskets by Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental) and PJ Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) to grab their first lead of the game, 4-3, with just under 17 minutes to play in the first half.
Bluffton stretched its lead over the next five minutes as Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp) hit Josiah Stober (Spencerville/Spencerville) for a wide open layup helping the Beavers grab a 15-9 advantage.
The Spartans caught fire over the last five minutes behind the scoring of Wade, who put up 10 points while dishing out two assists during the period. Manchester went into the half with a 38-34 advantage.
Wade sparked the Spartans in the first half as he scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including a perfect 3-of-3 from downtown. As a team, Manchester shot a blistering 56 percent from the perimeter, knocking down 9-of-16 triples in the first half alone.
The Beavers stayed close despite only shooting 13-of-31 from the field in the first half. Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) led Bluffton with 10 points, including two treys in the opening stanza.
Bluffton once again came out strong to start the second half as a Wilson jumper knotted the game at 44 four minutes into the second half.
The two teams traded baskets over the next six minutes of the game until Taylor picked off a pass and converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to give Bluffton a two-point advantage, 55-53. The basket gave the Beavers their first lead since the four-minute mark in the first half, a lead they would not give up.
Bluffton pushed the lead to six, 63-57, when Mike Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. John's) scored two of his 14 points on a jumper over two Manchester defenders.
After Manchester cut the lead to two with just under three minutes to play, Schwieterman scored on a lay-up in traffic to give Bluffton a 67-63 advantage. The Spartans continued to chip away at the lead, but Schwieterman converted a three-point play to push the lead back to four.
Bluffton went 8-of-9 from the line over the last two minutes helping them overcome Manchester's hot shooting from beyond the arc. The Spartans nailed four trifectas in the last 45 seconds, but Bluffton was still able to pull out the 82-79 victory.
Once again, Bluffton overcame poor shooting from beyond the arc as the Beavers won the game from the charity stripe, knocking down an incredible 25-of-27 (93 percent), while the Spartans were only 9-of-11. The Beavers forced 17 Manchester turnovers, while only committing 11 themselves. The Spartans finished the game with an impressive 14 three-pointers on 47 percent shooting from long range.
Schwieterman led Bluffton with a career-high 19 points, including 7-of-8 from the line. Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) dropped in 13 points, while Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) added 12. Wilson chipped in with 11 points while also tallying six boards and a block.
The Beavers return to action on Saturday, February 10, 2007, when they travel to Lexington, Ky., to face the Pioneers of Transylvania. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.