Franklin 92, Bluffton 81
Second half surge propels Franklin to 92-81 win over Beavers
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
December 13, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team was knocked off by HCAC rival Franklin College, 92-81, on Saturday, December 13, 2008. Following their first conference loss of the season, the Beavers dropped to 2-1 in the Heartland Conference and 6-2 overall, while the Grizzlies improved to 5-4 on the season with a spotless 3-0 mark in the HCAC. The loss by Bluffton snapped a six-game winning streak which followed a season-opening loss to Capital on Nov. 21.
The Grizzlies lit up the scoreboard first with a 5-0 rally, before Bluffton broke the ice with a layup from senior Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian). Senior post Josiah Stober (Spencerville) generated two more points for Bluffton. Fellow senior Aaron Taylor (Antwerp) hit a jumper before a trey from Cunningham knotted the score at nine.
At the 12:39 mark, Nick Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) picked up a Grizzly turnover and he connected with Jordan Pothast (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) for a layup. Nick Wilson (Continental) and Josh Eichar (North Baltimore) each found the hoop, giving the Beavers a 21-19 lead. Freshman Clayton Leimeister (Lima/Temple Christian) converted a conventional three-point play to tie the game at 24 with 8:52 to play in the opening stanza.
With less than five minutes of play left in the first stanza, Taylor once again hit a deuce, putting the Beavers up 35-33. Cunningham responded with a basket from behind the arc at the 3:47 mark. Two minutes later, Cunningham answered a 6-0 Grizzly run with a drive which pulled the Beavers within one at halftime, 41-40.
Both teams started quickly in the second half as Taylor and Stober each chipped in two points for Bluffton. A Taylor drive created the last tie of the game at 46-46, followed by a Franklin 12-3 jag over the next four minutes of action. After a much-needed timeout, Pothast took the ball to the hole to cut the deficit to eight points.
Lee drilled a three-pointer at the 10:22 mark thanks to an assist from freshman Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee). Bluffton scored two minutes later when Nick Wilson got to the rack. With just over three minutes to play, Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) added two points for the Beavers.
Sophomore Rob Luderman (Ayersville) dished out an assist for a Cunningham trey, and Lee drained another three-pointer, but it was too little, too late as Franklin stayed perfect in the HCAC with a convincing 92-81 victory over the Beavers.
Colt Cunningham led the Beavers with 26 points, in addition to having two assists and two rebounds. Aaron Taylor and Jordan Pothast both tallied 10 points and three assists, while Taylor ripped down three boards. Pothast's double-digit total established a new career-high as a Beaver. Nick Wilson and Justin Rufenacht grabbed four boards in the loss.
The Grizzlies were paced by freshman Will Conoley who dropped in 18 points, one steal, and one rebound. John Yochum added 17 points, all in the second stanza, four boards, and three assists for Franklin. Jared Catron chipped in with 14 points, four assists, three boards and a steal, while Jace Redman contributed 12 points, six assists, and five rebounds in the Franklin victory. All five Franklin starters reached double digits for the Grizzlies.
Bluffton hit an outstanding 32-of-55 (58.2 percent) from the field, while Franklin was unconscious in shooting 35-of-50 (70 percent) for the game. The Beavers made seven treys, one more than their rivals. Bluffton made just 10-of-17 (58.8 percent) from the line, compared to 16-of-18 (89.9 percent) for Franklin. The Grizzlies pulled down 27 of the 45 rebounds in the game, while the home team turned the ball over just eight times.
The Bluffton men return to action on Tuesday, December 16, when the Beavers travel to face Adrian College of the MIAA. The contest is slated to start at 7:30 p.m.