Franklin 94, Bluffton 66
Franklin rolls to 94-66 thumping of Bluffton
January 31, 2009
FRANKLIN, Indiana - The Bluffton University basketball team fell behind early and never recovered as Franklin spanked the Beavers for the second time this season, 94-66, at the Spurlock Center on Saturday, January 31, 2009. The Grizzlies stayed in the hunt for a conference title, improving to 9-2 in the HCAC and 12-8 overall while taking over sole possession of first place as Transylvania (8-2) was idle. Bluffton dropped its fourth contest in the last six games, falling to 12-8 overall and 6-5 in the Heartland Conference.
Senior Nick Wilson (Continental), starting for the second time this season, gave Bluffton its only tie of the game at two when he go to the rack for a quick layup less than 30 seconds in. The home team scored 12 of the next 17 points to open up a 14-7 margin following a Jared Catron jumper at the 15:18 mark. Aaron Taylor (Antwerp), who scored nine of Bluffton's first 11 points, cut the deficit to 16-11 with his driving layin less than two minutes later.
A Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) deuce at the 11:56 mark made it a two point game (17-15) before another Taylor drive made the score 20-19 in favor of the Grizzlies midway through the first period. Five straight John Yochum points and a Jace Redman trifecta pushed the lead back to nine points just one minute later.
The Beavers used four points from Cunningham and a pair of Nick Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) charity tosses to keep the game close (28-25) before a 6-1 run by the home team drove the wedge separating the teams back to eight points.
A pair of free throws by senior pivot Josiah Stober (Spencerville) followed by Josh Eichar (North Baltimore) and Nick Wilson layups sandwiched around a Wilson bomb gave the Beaver faithful hope as Bluffton trailed by just one point (37-36) with 2:08 to play in the half. The Grizzlies used four freebies and a Scott Trueblood hoop to make the score 43-36 at the break.
Franklin came out and blitzed the Beavers to the tune of a 25-4 run over the first 7:16 of the second half to effectively end Bluffton's hopes for a season split with the perennial-HCAC power Grizzlies. Five Bluffton turnovers and a woeful 1-of-7 shooting display during that span fed right into a Franklin offense that put the biscuit in the basket 10 times in less than eight minutes.
The home team continued to pour it on as Coach Neal emptied his bench for most of the final 10 minutes of the second stanza. A Rob Luderman (Ayersville) layup) cut the deficit to 21 points at the 5:29 mark, but seven straight by the Grizzlies kept the Beavers at bay. Clayton Leimeister (Lima/Temple Christian) hit with 1:12 to play before Clayton Merschbrock answered with a deep ball to cap the scoring in Franklin's 94-66 win.
Aaron Taylor led the visitors with 15 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from the field. He was 6-for-6 at the line and handed out three assists. Colt Cunningham and Nick Wilson added 11 and nine points, respectively, both going 4-of-6 from the field.
John Yochum and Jace Redman each lit up the Beavers for 22 points. Will Conoley added 17 markers and Jared Catron chipped in with 10 points as the only Franklin starter not to reach double digits was Dustin Marshall who finished with eight points. Redman dished out five assists and Conoley blocked three Bluffton shots.
The Beavers were a respectable 19-of-35 (54.3 percent) from the field, but Franklin buried 33-of-52 shots (63.5 percent), including an astounding 18-of-26 (69.2 percent) in the second stanza. The Grizzlies were superb from distance (7-of-11), they outboarded the Beavers (26-21) and they committed just 13 turnovers, eight fewer than the visitors.
Bluffton will look to use its HCAC bye week to prepare for an Alumni Day showdown with Hanover College. The February 7 contest is slated for 1 p.m. following the annual Alumni Game which will tip at 11 a.m. next Saturday.