bc 75, mc 65
Bluffton knocks off Manchester 75-65 for first home and HCAC win of the seasonBy Tim Stried
January 29, 2003
After several near-misses at a home victory earlier this season, Bluffton College put together a complete game from start to finish Wednesday night and earned a 75-65 win over Manchester College in Founders Hall.
The victory was Bluffton's first at home this season and first in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference as the Beavers erased a string of games in which they held the lead well after the opening tip but saw their opponents come from behind to win.
"We finally came together and did all the little things," said head coach Amanda Curtis after the game. "Everyone contributed and did their job and did what they were asked to do."
And the statistics certainly proved that point as four players scored in double figures and another had nine points as Bluffton set a new HCAC scoring high for the second game in a row. Bluffton's bench out-scored Manchester's 23-9 and BC held a +9 rebounding margin.
But the key to the victory was a 10-2 run late in the game that for one of the first time this season went in Bluffton's favor instead of the opposition.
"In the past we've gone through spurts of five minutes where we fell apart, but that didn't happen tonight," said Curtis. "We came out in the second half with the same intensity that we had at the end of the first half."
The lead changed hands all through the first half before Bluffton took a 34-32 lead at halftime, which they would not surrender the entire second half as the Beavers out-scored Manchester 41-33 in the final 20 minutes and out-rebounded the Spartans by 10.
Bluffton shattered previous season-highs for free throws made and attempted as the Beavers went to the line 48 times and converted on 29 of those chances.
The aforementioned 10-2 run was keyed by back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Lindsay Bacon and a 6-for-6 stretch at the free throw line by seniors Kristen Siller and Lyndsey Robinson. Bluffton held Manchester to just four field goals in the final 11 minutes of the game and an 0-for-7 effort from 3-point range in the entire second half.
Senior Melissa James scored a team-high 17 points and hit several key jumpers in transition to keep Bluffton in the lead throughout the second half. She added eight rebounds.
Robinson dominated the glass throughout the game, finished with 15 boards to collect her ninth career double-double. She ended the 13 points, as did junior Karen Harris, who added four assists and knifed through the Spartan defense for layups the whole game.
Bacon, who is nearly back to 100% after missing 11 games with a leg injury earlier in the season, finished with 12 points and tied a career high with three 3-pointers. Siller chipped in nine points, all coming from the free throw line.
"I hope this gives them confidence that when we play as a team we can do really good things," said Curtis, "This shows that we can hold a lead and make it grow. We have several very winnable games left on our schedule."