2002-03 Men's Basketball
bc hosts transy
Bluffton to host Transylvania Saturday aiming for season sweep and possible home HCAC tournament gameBy Tim Stried
February 13, 2003
Setting the scene
Both these teams were handed league losses Wednesday night but have been playing well as of late, as Bluffton is 4-3 in its last seven HCAC games and Transy is 3-2 in its last five league contests. These two teams met at Transylvania on Jan. 18 with the Beavers winning 93-83. Following Saturday's game, Bluffton has one more HCAC game (Wed. at Defiance), while Transy has two more HCAC contests. The HCAC tournament tips-off Tues., Feb. 25.
HCAC tournament shaping up
Hanover has locked up the #1 seed in the HCAC tournament and will have a first round bye before hosting the final four and championship games on Feb. 28 and March 1. Anderson will host a first round tourney game on Feb. 25, but the two other first round home games have yet to be decided. Bluffton could have one of those two first round home games if it wins its final two HCAC games and gets help from various teams around the league. Check the Bluffton men's basketball website on Sunday evening for updated HCAC tournament information.
Welcome BC basketball alumni
A special welcome is extended to the Bluffton alumni who are playing in Saturday's annual alumni basketball game. Your support of BC basketball is very much appreciated!
The series (BC leads 2-1)
Last year marked the first time that these two schools had ever met on the basketball court. Bluffton now leads the all-time series 2-1, which includes Bluffton's win at Transy earlier this season.
Bluffton is led by 14th-year head coach Guy Neal, who ranks second on the BC all-time wins list with 145 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. Transylvania is led by second-year head coach Brian Lane, who held coaching positions at such schools as North Carolina State, South Carolina and North Carolina-Charlotte before returning to his alma mater. While a player at TU from 1986-1990, Lane scored 1,286 points, which now ranks 23rd on the school's all-time points list.
After getting off to a slow start in league play, Bluffton has turned it on as of late, winning four of its last seven HCAC games and fashioning an 8-6 record since the middle of December. The Beavers are now 10-12 overall, which matches their win total from last season, and 4-8 in the HCAC. Transy started off the season 5-2 but hit a mid-season slump to fall to 6-9 overall. However, the Pioneers are 3-3 in their last six games with wins at home over Franklin and Defiance and a win at Mt. St. Joseph. TU is now 9-12 overall and 3-8 in the HCAC.
Leimeister nearing 1000 points
Bluffton senior Mike Leimeister is nearing the 1,000 career point total, as his 30 point effort Wednesday night at Franklin now gives him 960 points, which ranks 23rd on the career scoring list. When he reaches the 1K total he'll become the 22nd player in the history of BC basketball to accomplish that feat. His point total is especially amazing considering that he scored a combined total of just two points as a freshman and sophomore. He scored 450 points last season as a junior and has scored 508 so far this season, which is already the 10th-highest single-season output in BC history.
Both these teams are coming off HCAC losses Wednesday night. Bluffton suffered an 87-68 loss at Franklin despite 30 points and 10 rebounds from Mike Leimeister. It was Leimeister's 11th career 30-point game and his 9th career double-double. In the first half Franklin shot over 58% from the floor and was 14-for-14 from the free throw line en route to a 49-36 halftime lead, and the Grizzlies, who earlier this season handed 12th ranked Hanover its only loss of the season, kept their hot shooting alive in the second half by hitting 50% of their shots from the field and going 12-for-14 from the line. Bluffton ended the game just 1-for-16 from 3-point range, which although did extend its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 264 in a row, didn't prove to be enough to cut into Franklin's lead in the second half as the Grizzlies swept the season series against the Beavers. Bluffton's one made trey and 6% effort from beyond the arc marked new season-lows. Going cold from trey land was something Bluffton hadn't had happen to them in over a month. In their previous eight games heading into Wednesday night the Beavers had connected on 68-of-134 three-point attempts for a 50.8% efficiency and owned a league-best 39.6% shooting clip from 3-point range for the season. Transy, meanwhile, suffered an 80-63 loss to HCAC-leader Hanover Wednesday. Derek Springate led the Pioneers with 16 points, while Matt Finke had 13 and Bryan Howard chipped in 12. The 9th-ranked Panthers shot 56% from the field while holding Transy to a 39.2% clip.
BC at Transy earlier this season
Bluffton shot a season-high 75% from 3-point range, hitting 12-of-16 shots from beyond the arc, which set a BC record for 3-point accuracy in an HCAC game, as the Beavers topped Transylvania 93-83 on Jan. 18 in Lexington. Bluffton shot a season-high 63.3% for total field goals and held off a second-half Transy comeback as Mike Leimeister scored a game-high 29 points and freshman Scott Bergman scored a career-high 20 points in his first collegiate start. That duo combined to hit 6-of-8 three-pointers in the game, while Marcus Bixler and Derek DeNero were both 2-for-2 from trey land and finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Bluffton led by as many as 17 points in the first half at 32-15 with 5:25 remaining before halftime but the Pioneers went on an 13-0 run at that point to cut the lead to four points with 1:31 left. BC led 38-29 at the intermission and pushed their lead back up to 18 points with 11:55 remaining in the game. Transylvania clawed their way back into the game, however, to again trail by just four points with under six minutes to go, but the Pioneers got no closer as Leimeister scored Bluffton's next 11 points to keep Bluffton ahead.
These two teams split the season series last year as both clubs won away from their home court. Transy topped Bluffton 64-61 here in Founders Hall on Jan. 12 as the Beavers shot a season-low .339 from the field to fall despite holding TU to 64 points, which was the lowest point total BC allowed in an HCAC game the entire season. Bluffton returned the favor on Feb. 9, however, pulling out an 87-78 win in overtime in Lexington in a game highlighted by then-senior Rod Overmyer scoring his 1000th career point. Bluffton trailed by four points with under a minute to go but came back to force overtime and take control in the extra session. Derek DeNero and Brad Boyles led BC in scoring in both games, as DeNero scored 17 and 21 and Boyles added 11 and 13. For Transy, Adam Coyle scored a game-high 26 points in the game at Bluffton, while Jimmy Kosieniak led the Pioneers with 22 points in the game at TU. Both these teams finished 3-11 in the HCAC last season, as BC finished 10-16 overall and Transy finished 4-20.
Mike Leimeister continues to lead the HCAC in scoring at 23.1 points per game, which ranks 10th in the country, and his 8.2 rebounds per game ranks 2nd in the league. Senior Derek DeNero (11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) is the one other BC player averaging in double figures, while senior Marcus Bixler (9.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg) ranks 2nd in the HCAC in assists (4.1 apg) and 4th in free throw percentage (.812), steals (1.7 spg), 3-point percentage (.443) and assist-to-turnover ration (1.43). Junior Brad Boyles (9.5 ppg) ranks 2nd in the HCAC in field goal percentage (.621).
Bluffton freshmen making waves
Bluffton's 12-member freshman class has made an immediate impact this season. Of BC's top 10 scorers, five of them are freshmen, including Eric Sweet (5.2 ppg), Scott Bergman (5.1 ppg), Darren Clark (3.4 ppg), Simeon Talley (2.4 ppg) and Bryan Yelley (2.6 ppg). Each of those five players has scored in double figures at least once this season, and Sweet and Bergman have both already gone over the 100-point mark. The last time that Bluffton had more than one freshman score over 100 points in the same season was seven years ago during the 1995-96 campaign when three freshmen did it, including Greg Rawski (141), Nate Morris (139) and Dan Gudorf (113).
The Pioneer's top four scorers all are within 1.6 points of each other and are led by senior forward Jimmy Kosieniak, who was a starter last season but has been predominantly coming off the bench this season. He is second on the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game. Freshman Robert Pendleton (10.0 ppg) leads the team with 40 three-pointers (5th in HCAC) and 57 assists. Sophomore Nate Valentine (10.9 ppg, 4.8 ppg) owns the team's top scoring average and along with senior Nick Nash (9.3 ppg) round out Transy's top scorers. Freshman Adam Cole leads the HCAC in 3-point accuracy at .510 (26-for-51).
3-point streak continues
Bluffton has made at least one 3-point field goal in 264 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 289-265 (.522) in Founders Hall since the facility opened in 1952. BC is 64-47 (.577) in Founders Hall since the start of the 1993-94 season.
Around the HCAC
Elsewhere around the Heartland Conference Saturday, Anderson hosts Franklin and Mount St. Joseph hosts Defiance. In non-league action, Hanover travels to Thomas More.