2002-03 Men's Basketball
Bluffton wins fourth straight game, including McDonald's Holiday Tournament ChampionshipBy Tim Stried
January 6, 2003
|Special to: The Bluffton News (Jan. 9), The Witmarsum (Jan. 10), Alumni e-newsletter (Jan. 7), but you read it here first.
The Bluffton College men's basketball team won three games last week, including the championship of the Fifth Annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament, to extend their winning streak to four games and even their overall record at 6-6.
The Beavers will get back into Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action Wed. night as Franklin College visits Founders Hall at 7:30 p.m. BC will travel to Anderson University Sat. at 3 p.m., with WDOH 107.1 FM bringing the live action (also available at www.wdoh.com).
Senior Mike Leimeister continues to lead the HCAC in scoring as he is now averaging 24.3 points per game to go along with 8.1 rebounds per game, which ranks second in the league. He was named the MVP of the holiday tournament and was joined by senior teammate Marcus Bixler on the all-tournament team.
With Bluffton's 77-69 win at Adrian last Saturday, head coach Guy Neal now has 141 wins at BC, which ties him for second place on the all-time wins list with A.C. Burcky. Glenn Snyder holds the record with 150 wins.
Dec. 30: BC 86, Madonna 79
Five Bluffton players scored in double figures to lead the Beavers past Madonna University 86-79 Monday night in the first round of the Fifth Annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament.
Bluffton shot 65.5% from the floor in the first half and set a tournament record with 53 points in a half as BC took a 22-point lead at halftime, 53-31. The second half was a whole different ballgame, however, as Madonna shot 65.5% from the floor and came all the way back to tie the score twice late in the game.
Leimeister collected his fifth career double-double with a team-high 23 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior Brad Boyles scored 16 points, 14 of those coming in the first half, while DeNero and Bixler both scored 12 points. Sophomore Bryce Beilharz chipped in 10.
Dec. 31: BC 69, Muskingum 62
Led by tournament most-valuable-player Mike Leimeister, Bluffton defeated Muskingum College 69-62 on New Year's Eve in Founders Hall in the championship game of the Fifth Annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament.
Bluffton set a tournament record for shooting percentage in a half by shooting 73.7% in the second half to hold off a late Muskingum rally as the Beavers won their fourth tournament championship in the five years of this event.
Leimeister scored 20 of his points in the second half to notch his ninth career 30+ point game. He tied a career-high with four 3-pointers and was 11-for-13 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. He added nine rebounds to end the two-day tournament with 53 points and 20 rebounds. Bixler was also named to the all-tournament team as he scored 12 points in the championship game and added three assists to end the tournament with 24 points and seven assists.
Bluffton scored the final eight points of the first half to take a 28-20 lead at halftime and the Beavers went up by as many as 16 points early in the second half.
Jan. 4: BC 77, Adrian 69
For the first time this season Bluffton came back from a halftime deficit to collect a win as BC trailed 28-27 at the intermission but shot 64% from the floor in the second half and hit 5-of-6 three-point shots to take a 77-69 win at Adrian last Saturday.
Leimeister scored a game-high 29 points and DeNero scored a season-high 20 points and tied a career-high by hitting four 3-pointers in four attempts. He added three assists and Leimeister contributed three steals, while Bixler chipped in seven points and collected a team-high six assists and seven rebounds and had two steals and just one turnover in 35 minutes.
Adrian went up by eight points on two occasions early in the game, but Bluffton went on a 13-2 run late in the first half to take a three point lead at 25-22 with 2:55 left before halftime before Adrian came back to claim a one point lead at the intermission.
DeNero's fourth 3-pointer of the game gave Bluffton a 12-point lead at 56-44 with 8:47 left to play, but Adrian would come back to tie the score at 61-61 with 5:00 left and again at 69-69 with 1:57 remaining. A trey from Bixler and a jumper from freshman Simeon Talley, however, gave BC a five-point lead with under a minute to go and Adrian missed three 3-pointers in a row to seal their fate.