2011-12 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 65, Franklin 57
Beavers knock off Grizzlies 65-57 at Franklin
January 28, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information assistant
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team avenged an early season 82-79 home loss to Franklin College by pulling out a tough 65-57 victory on Saturday, Jan. 28. The Beavers upped their season record to 13-6 overall and 7-5 in the HCAC. Franklin dropped to 10-9 (7-5 HCAC) with its second consecutive loss.
The Beavers charged out of the gate, opening an 11-0 lead as five different players put points up on the scoreboard. After the Grizzlies finally got untracked and cut the lead to seven, a hit from deep by senior Mychal Hill (London/Jon. Alder) put the visitors back up 16-6 midway through the first period.
Franklin then settled in on its home court and began chipping away at the Bluffton lead until they knotted it up and then went ahead 24-22 on a jumper by Zach Mershbrock. Consecutive layups by Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) put the visitors back on top, 26-25, heading into intermission.
The teams battled for the first seven minutes of the second period with Bluffton clinging to a slim lead until senior Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) nailed a jumper and Josh Johnson (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) followed with a deuce on back-to-back possessions, pushing the Beaver lead to eight at 38-30.
The Grizzlies had one last run in them as they cut the deficit to 52-50 with just under four minutes to play, but that was as close as they could get. As Franklin looked to knot the game or go ahead with a three, a huge steal by Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) led to a fast-break layup which shifted the momentum back in Bluffton's favor. The veteran visiting squad closed out the game 65-57 by draining 9-of-12 from the charity stripe to quell Franklin's hopes for a season sweep of the Beavers.
Hill paced the Beavers in scoring with 15 points while also adding four dimes and five boards. Fellow senior Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) also had a productive game for the team, sinking all 10 of his free throws to finish with 12 points and three rebounds. Farley chipped in with 11 points and five boards as well.
The Beavers went 19-of-41 (46.3 percent) from the field, while Franklin connected on 19-of-47 (40.4 percent) from the field. From the foul line the Beavers were 24-of-32 (75 percent) and the Grizzlies hit 16-of-22 (72.7 percent). Bluffton finished an efficient 3-of-7 from outside the arc (42.9 percent), compared to Franklin who struggled to a 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) afternoon on triples. The Beavers finished with a slim 30-29 edge on the glass and both teams turned it over 16 times.
Bluffton returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 1, when the Beavers host Mount St. Joseph in the first of three consecutive home games for the Beavers. The contest is slated for 7:30 p.m in Founders Hall.