Bluffton stays perfect at 5-0 with 82-76 win over MSJ
December 1, 2010
By: Josh Bruner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team hosted the College
of Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday, December 1 for the first game of the HCAC season.
Bluffton took an early lead on the Lions and held a 44-30 advantage going into the
half. The Lions made a comeback in the second period as they outscored the Beavers
46-38. The comeback was not enough though, and the Beavers picked up the win. The
win kept the Beavers undefeated at 5-0 overall with a 1-0 HCAC mark and it left Bluffton
needing just a victory over Transylvania on Saturday to equal the 1965-66 squad for
the best start in men's basketball history. The Lions fell to 1-5 overall and 0-1
in the HCAC.
The Beavers came out of the gates on fire, holding the Lions scoreless while taking
a 12-0 lead after the first four and a half minutes of the game. Bluffton was led
by junior Nick Lee (Vanlue) with two shots from behind the arc. The Lion offense finally put an end
to the Beaver scoring rampage when they put in their first two points on Matt Wester's layup at the 14:42 mark.
The Lions finally pulled within single digits (16-9) at the 12-minute mark thanks
to a three-pointer from Alex Cole. Bluffton pushed the lead back to double digits with another Lee three. This was
followed by a Rob Luderman (Ayersville) layup which gave the Beavers a 12-point lead with just 11 minutes left
in the half.
Lee followed with two consecutive triples to bring his total to five with nine minutes
remaining in the period. These threes gave the Beavers their largest lead to that
point at 27-12.
The Mount finally trimmed the deficit to double digits at the 3:22 mark when Ben Haarman hit a jumper. Lee added two more shots from behind the arc in the last two minutes.
His 24 points, on 8-of-10 shooting from distance through the first half, led the Beavers
to a 44-30 edge going into the break.
The second half did not start as hot for the Beavers as the teams continued to trade
points through the early stages of the period. A Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) layup kept the Beaver lead at 14 points with 11 minutes remaining
in the game.
The Beavers started to take over the game midway through the second stanza, opening
up a 22-point lead after a Mychal Hill (London/Jonathan Alder) three-point shot with just eight minutes remaining. The Beavers
continued to maintain their large margin into the final five minutes of the game.
The Lions gave the Beavers a scare in the final minutes as Haarman terrorized Bluffton
with 26 points over the final 3:33 of the contest. The Beavers struggled to control
the ball and the Lions pulled within five with 15 seconds left. Hill hit one of two
free throws with 14 seconds left for the 82-76 win over the Lions.
Lee led the team with 24 points (8-of-10 from distance) and he added four assists
and five boards. All his points came from behind the arc as he finished one shy of
the school record nine-threes in a game held by Dave Sheldon and Lee's brother-in-law,
Scott Bergman. Following Lee was Josh Johnson (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) with 11 off the bench, hitting 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
Hill added 10, while Farley chipped in with six counters, 11 boards and a career-high
five assists. Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) also added six points and a career-high six assists.
The Lions were led by Haarman with 37 points. Cole added 10 with eight boards. Aaron Barber dropped in six, while David Lane and David Mann each added five for the Lions.
The Beavers were outstanding from the field, as they went 28-of-48 (58.3 percent),
including 13-of-25 (52.0 percent) from behind the arc. The Lions only hit 24-of-62
(38.7 percent) from the field, and 12-for-28 (42.9 percent) on three-pointers. The
Lions excelled from the line as they hit 16-of-19 (84.2 percent), while the Beavers
converted 13-of-19 (68.4 percent).
The Bluffton University men's basketball team will host Transylvania on Saturday,
December 4, at 4 p.m. for another Heartland Conference matchup.