BC and Defiance add to rivalry tonight

Sports Writer, Defiance Crescent News

Defiance College's oldest and most intense rivalry will be back in action on Wednesday night at the Karl H. Weaner Center as the Yellow Jackets will tangle with Bluffton College with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.

The winner will move above the .500 mark for the season as well as adding another chapter to the storied rivalry.

"This rivalry has stemmed back a lot longer than the time that I have been here," stated DC men's basketball head coach Tom Palombo. "This will be the last time that we won't play as league members since we will be entering in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference next season of which they (Beavers) are already a member."

Bluffton will enter Wednesday's matchup with a record of 2-2 after a 73-55 loss to Ohio Northern while DC will host the contest with a 1-1 record including a 91-70 win over Heidelberg. A good start figures to be a key in the game for the Yellow Jackets since they may come out shooting a little rusty after the eight-day layoff since their last contest.

"I think that the early layoff was good for us," said Palombo. "Every year I think that you need a break for the kids and it was a good chance for the kids to get their legs back, especially the freshmen who haven't played at the collegiate level before."

The Yellow Jackets will be tested early and often on defense with the likes of Bluffton's versatile Jeremy Roberts, who currently leads the team in scoring on the season with 22.2 points per game while also being the leading rebounder and assists man at 8.8 rpg. and 4.0 apg.

"Their offense runs through Roberts. It will be crucial for us to contain him on defense because he is a very good player," said Palombo. "He is very quick and very strong, he posts up well and he will give you every shot fake in the book."

While Palombo is quick to point out that Roberts is the key to their offense, he also knows that Bluffton has a lethal perimeter game as well to complement Roberts. "Roberts is one of the top players around here. He is always tough but they also have some perimeter players so they have a nice inside/outside game," said Palombo. "They try to get the ball into Roberts and kick it back out for some 3-point shots, a lot like us."

Starting on the perimeter for the Beavers will be Chad Cramer (6-3, junior) and Travis Elsass (6-1, sophomore, 8.5 ppg.) at the two wing positions while Chris Sheldon (5-11, junior, 4.2 ppg.) will be playing the point guard position.

Cramer is the top perimeter shooter for the Beavers in the starting lineup hitting 9 of 17 from behind the 3-point arc on the season while adding 10.5 ppg. and 4.5 rpg. Cramer is the best shooter in the starting lineup but the best shooter on the team for the Beavers may come off the bench in sophomore wing Rodney Overmyer (6-3).

A graduate of Wayne Trace, Overmyer is the second leading scorer on the season hitting for 11.8 ppg. along with 3.8 rpg. while also adding a team high 13 3-point field goals on just 24 attempts. Overmyer is the hottest scorer for the Beavers as well early in the season, after hitting on 7-8 from 3-point range in his last contest while contributing a team-high 22 points.

Bluffton and DC will be playing a similar style of basketball as the Yellow Jackets will look to get the offense going through senior Chad Kahle (6-5) just as the Beavers do with Roberts. Kahle is the leading scorer on the season for the Yellow Jackets averaging 19 ppg. and a team-high 10.5 rpg. while hitting on 64 percent of his field goal attempts (16-25).

"It doesn't matter who we play this season, we will try to run our offense through Chad because we are confident in his abilities," stated Palombo. "He has the ability to attract a lot of attention from the defense which gives the rest of our guys pretty good perimeter looks." Taking advantage of those outside looks this season has been the play of sixth man Seth Newlove, who is leading the Yellow Jackets from behind the 3-point arc with six treys while also being the team's second leading scorer with 15 ppg.

Newlove comes off the bench to replace one of the members the DC starting backcourt which includes point guard Kris Hinchcliff (9.5 ppg., 3.0 rpg.), wing Gavin Sever (8.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg.) and wing Eric Viney (10.5 ppg., 3.0 rpg.) while Frank Kill (5.0 ppg., 4.5 rpg) will start at power forward.