2011-12 Men's Basketball
Franklin 82, Bluffton 79
Franklin hands Bluffton 82-79 setback in Founders Hall
December 3, 2011
By: Jordan Marbaugh, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team came up just short, 82-79, to Franklin College on Saturday, Dec. 3. It proved to be an exciting game that went right down to the final buzzer when Mychal Hill's (London/Jonathan Alder) 35-footer kissed the glass, was in and then rimmed out, depriving the fans of an extra five minutes. It marked Bluffton's (5-1, 1-1 HCAC) first loss of the season as Franklin improved to 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
The Grizzlies used a quick 8-0 run midway through the first half as they opened up a 31-22 advantage with 7:20 left in period. The Beavers closed the lead to four after five consecutive points from Tyler Neal (Bluffton) and two free throws by Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee), making it 33-29 Franklin. The Beavers couldn't get any closer as Franklin took a 40-33 lead into the half.
After sitting on the bench for the last 15 minutes of the first half due to foul trouble, sophomore Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) went to work right away in the second stanza. He got free for two quick buckets in the first minute and added another deuce following a Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) layin three minutes later.
With 15 minutes to play, Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) took over. Three Fisher buckets and a pair of makes from the charity stripe pulled Bluffton within four (61-57) at the 10:16 mark. The junior slasher then drilled a three with 9:31 left to keep it a four-point game, 64-60. Fisher continued his inspired play, sandwiching a pair of hoops around a Pope deuce while trimming the deficit to just three points.
Seven Kinn counters over the final 3:50 helped Bluffton make it a two-point game with 14 seconds on the clock. Franklin missed 3-of-4 from the line in the waning seconds, but when Hill's long triple try rimmed out as the horn sounded, the Grizzlies celebrated their 82-79 Heartland Conference victory.
Fisher led the way offensively for the Beavers as he scored all 18 of his points in second half. Kinn and Pope each dropped in 15 points. Brent Farley racked up his ninth career double-double, finishing with 10 markers and 10 rebounds. Pope also grabbed eight boards, while senior Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) collected five caroms. Will Conoley's play down the stretch proved to be the difference as the Franklin standout was 5-of-6 with 11 of his game-high 23 points in the final 6:13 of the contest.
Franklin knocked down 32-of-55 from the field (58.2 percent), compared to 29-of-65 (44.6 percent) for the home team. Bluffton was 17-of-23 (73.9 percent) at the stripe, while Franklin went 13-for-21 (61.9 percent). The Beavers pulled down 13 more rebounds (39-26) than the visitors and both teams committed 15 turnovers.
Bluffton will travel to Kalamazoo on Wednesday, Dec. 7, for a 7 p.m. tip with the Hornets.