bc hosts au
Bluffton to host Anderson Saturday aiming to end Raven winning streak over BeaversBy Tim Stried
February 6, 2003
Setting the scene
Bluffton has won three of their last five HCAC games and had a mid-week bye this week. Anderson, which had a bye last Saturday, had dropped three straight HCAC games before taking a 70-65 win over Manchester Wed. night. These two teams met at Anderson on Jan. 11 with the Ravens pulling out an 89-87 win. Following Saturday's game, both these teams have three remaining HCAC contests before the league tournament begins on Feb. 25.
The series (AU leads 33-17)
Anderson leads the all-time series against Bluffton 33-17, which dates back to the 1967-68 season. Anderson has won the last four meetings in this series and has tallied a 16-8 record against the Beavers when playing in Founders Hall.
Bluffton is led by 14th-year head coach Guy Neal, who ranks second on the BC all-time wins list with 144 victories. Neal is closing in on leader Glenn Snyder, who won 150 games between 1968-85. Neal's six winning seasons are second only to Hall of Famer A.C. Burcky's total of seven. Anderson is led by 10th-year head coach Denny Lehnus, who has the Ravens on pace for their fifth straight winning season. A 1963 AU grad, Lehnus compiled a 548-115 record in 19 seasons at Kankakee Community College in Ill. prior to returning to his alma mater and was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1992.
Bluffton has won three of their last five games to improve its record to 9-11 overall and 3-7 in the HCAC. The Beavers are 5-5 at home this season. Anderson, which is now 14-6 overall and 7-3 in the HCAC, won 10-of-11 games from the beginning of December through the third week in January, but the Ravens then dropped three straight games, all in the HCAC, before topping Manchester Wed. night 70-65.
Bluffton is coming off a 79-76 win at Mount St. Joseph last Saturday as the Beavers shot over 57% from 3-point range and overcame a 12-point first half deficit to win for the first time in five trips to the Harrington Center. Marcus Bixler scored 14 points in the second half and ended the game with a team-high 19 points as he was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range to lead the Beavers, which made 12-of-21 shots from trey land and forced 19 Lion turnovers. Mike Leimeister added 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Scott Bergman scored 14 points. Derek DeNero chipped in 11 points and freshman Darren Clark, who took a key charge with 24 seconds left in the game, finished with eight points.
Anderson snapped a three-game losing skid with a 70-65 home win over Manchester Wed. night. Manchester got off to a quick start, building a 28-18 lead at the 8:45 mark in the first half, before AU battled back to tie the score at 32-32 tie at the half. The Ravens then went on a 16-5 run early in the second half to go up 48-39 at the 12 minute mark and didn't trail the rest of the way. Anderson was 18-for-25 from the free throw line, while the visiting Spartans were just 1-for-4. Erik Chapman led the Ravens with 17 points.
Earlier this season
Bluffton out-rebounded Anderson University 39-33 and shot over 14 percentage points better from the field, but the Beavers fell 89-87 at AU on Jan. 11. Marcus Bixler led all scorers with a career-high 20 points, while Derek DeNero added 17 points as both players tied for game-high rebounding honors with seven. Brad Boyles scored 12 points in the second half to end the game with 16. Mike Leimeister, playing at less than 100% due to an ankle injury, was held 10 points under his season average as he finished with 14 points. Anderson attempted 32 3-pointers, the most of any BC opponent this season, but made just eight of them, however three of those treys came all in a row during a one-minute span midway through the second half to stay in the game at a juncture when Bluffton made 10-of-13 shots to take a five-point lead. Bluffton took their biggest lead of the game at 60-55 with 11:40 left to play but a 13-5 Anderson run at that point gave the lead back to the Ravens at 68-55 with 9:16 remaining. Anderson would hold that lead until Leimeister hit a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left to tie the score at 86-86. BC had just one field goal attempt the rest of the way, however, and AU connected on 3-of-4 foul shots to take the win. Bluffton's 20 turnovers in that game are the most against any HCAC foe this season, and the Beavers had just two steals to mark their current season low.
Anderson won both games against Bluffton last season as the Ravens won 84-77 here in Founders Hall and 100-78 on their home court. In the game in Bluffton, BC took a 45-32 rebounding edge and shot 88.9% from the free throw line, but the Ravens forced 24 BC turnovers. In the game at Anderson, a 19-0 scoring run by the Ravens early in the second half was too much for Bluffton to overcome as Gaga Ghebremichael scored 19 points. Bluffton's Derek DeNero scored 19 points in both games against the Ravens. Bluffton went on to finish 10-16 overall and 3-11 in the HCAC, while Anderson finished 15-11 overall and 7-7 in the HCAC.
Mike Leimeister continues to lead the HCAC in scoring at 23.0 points per game, which ranks 10th in the country, and his 8.2 rebounds per game ranks 2nd in the league. Senior Derek DeNero (11.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg) is the one other BC player averaging in double figures, while senior Marcus Bixler (9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg) ranks 2nd in the HCAC in assists (4.3 apg) and 4th in free throw percentage (.810), steals (1.7 spg), 3-point percentage (.443) and assist-to-turnover ration (1.43). Junior Brad Boyles (9.9 ppg) ranks 2nd in the HCAC in field goal percentage (.610).
The Ravens are one of the more veteran squads in the HCAC, as well as one of the more balanced. Their top three scorers are all within one point of each other and rank 13th, 14th, and 15th in the league in scoring. That trio consists of senior Gaga Ghebremichael (13.3 ppg, 3.0 apg), junior Paul Wright (12.7 ppg) and senior Erik Chapman (12.3 ppg).
3-point streak continues
Bluffton has made at least one 3-point field goal in 262 consecutive games. The last time BC didn't make a 3-pointer was Jan. 6, 1993 when BC was 0-1 from behind the arc against Adrian in Founders Hall but won anyway 64-57.
Record in Founders Hall
Bluffton is now 288-265 (.521) in Founders Hall since the facility opened in 1952. BC is 63-47 (.573) in Founders Hall since the start of the 1993-94 season.
Two key statistics will have a big part in determining tonight's winner. The first is turnovers. Anderson leads the HCAC in steals (11.3 spg) and turnover margin (+6.3) and has used that specific edge to defeat Bluffton the last three times these two teams have met. The other key stat will be who shoots the 3-pointer better. The Ravens lead the HCAC in 3-point attempts (25.4 att/g) and are 2nd in makes (9.0 m/g), but their .352 percentage is 7th. Bluffton is more selective about their trey attempts, which has led to the Beavers owning a sparkling .390 percentage from beyond the arc, which leads the HCAC. In fact, Bluffton is shooting .513 (58-for-113) from beyond the arc in its last seven games. When it comes to defending against the 3-pointer, AU ranks 2nd in the HCAC (.331), while BC ranks 5th (.348).
Around the HCAC
Elsewhere around the HCAC Saturday, Transylvania hosts Defiance, Hanover hosts Manchester and Mount St. Joseph hosts non-conference opponent Thomas More.