Defiance 86, Bluffton 70
Bluffton falls to rival Defiance College in Founders Hall, 86-70
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
December 5, 2007
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball dropped to 4-3 and 1-1 in the HCAC following an 86-70 loss to Defiance College, Bluffton's first setback in Founders Hall since the 2005-06 campaign. The Beavers fell behind early, and they were unable to recover as Defiance improved to 4-3 with a spotless 2-0 mark in the conference.
Defiance jumped out to a 9-0 lead within the first two minutes courtesy of three C.J. Johnson three-pointers. Johnson, who finished as the game's high scorer, lit up the Beavers for 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including an unbelievable 8-of-11 from outside the arc.
Bluffton closed the gap to seven points on a pair of Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) free throws to make the score 11-4. Kraus tied senior Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) for team-high honors in points with a total of 15.
Bluffton struggled throughout the half, missing layups and put backs as the Beavers failed to get closer than nine points for the rest of the half. Heath Armstrong hit from downtown and Kasey Bodenbender followed with a chip shot before junior Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) got to the rack to cut the Yellow Jackets' lead to 12 points, 39-27, at the break.
The Yellow Jackets continued to push their lead in the second half with an Anthony Jackson three-pointer at the 19:00 mark. Bluffton dug a 50-31 hole with 15:28 to play before the Beavers made a run at the visitors. Senior P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) was fouled, made the basket and converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Beavers hope with 8:25 to play as Bluffton cut the deficit to nine points, 59-50.
The Bluffton rally was thwarted by another C.J. Johnson triple which put the Yellow Jackets up 64-50 with 7:39 on the clock. Bluffton failed to get closer than 12 points during the final eight minutes, as the Yellow Jackets had an answer for every rally.
The Beavers were led in scoring by Zack Kraus and Nate Overmyer who each tallied 15 points. The 15 points marked a new career-high for Kraus. Overmyer led the Beavers with four steals. Cunningham chipped in with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. He also dished out a team-high three assists. P.J. Juenger pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Johnson smoked the nets for a game-high 30 points. Anthony Jackson converted on 5-of-7 shots for 15 points and junior Anthony Pettaway notched 13 points and 12 boards for the game's lone double-double.
Defiance buried 34-of-58 shots for 58.6 percent, including 18-for-28 (64.3 percent) in the second half. The Jackets were 12-for-22 from long distance for 54.5 percent. The Beavers went 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) from the field in the second stanza, but an 8-for-32 display (25 percent) in the opening half proved too much to overcome.
Bluffton's next game is scheduled for Saturday, December 8th, when the Beavers will travel to face HCAC foe Rose Hulman. The contest is slated for 3 p.m. and it will follow the Bluffton women's matchup with the Engineers.