Bluffton falls to Anderson in HCAC tournament, ends season 10-16By Tim Stried
March 3, 2003
|Special to: The Bluffton News (Mar. 6), The Witmarsum (Mar. 14), Alumni e-newsletter (Mar. 4), but you read it here first.
For the first 32 minutes of the game it looked like an upset in the making, but Anderson University showed why it earned the #2 seed in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament with a 70-58 win over the 7th-seeded Bluffton College men's basketball team last Tuesday night at Anderson's O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
The loss ended Bluffton's season with an overall record of 10-16, which identically matches the Beavers' record from a season ago. BC's mid-season hot streak, which saw Bluffton go 8-5 from the middle of December through the beginning of February to improve their record to 10-11, ended with a 93-84 win in Founders Hall over that same Anderson squad on Feb. 8 that would prove to be Bluffton's final win of the season.
Bluffton seniors Marcus Bixler, Derek DeNero and Mike Leimeister combined to score 1,079 points this season, which ranks among the highest scoring totals for a senior class in BC history. All three players set or tied at least one BC record during their careers and rank among the top-15 in many single-season and career statistical categories.
Leimeister finished the season with an HCAC-high 21.7 points per game average to become just the third player in the past 16 years to score 20 or more points per game in a season. The other two were Jamie Yount in 1994-95 (20.1 ppg) and Jeremy Roberts in 1999-00 (20.0 ppg).
Bluffton also had one other HCAC individual statistical leader, as junior Brad Boyles led the league in field goal shooting percentage at .621. He averaged 10.4 points per game this season and will be Bluffton's leading scorer back for next season among nine returning lettermen.
Feb. 25: BC 58, Anderson 70
Bluffton led 29-26 at halftime, but #2 Anderson came back to take a 70-58 win over #7 Bluffton Feb. 25 in the opening round of the HCAC tournament at Anderson.
Bluffton led by as many as eight points in the first half and junior Brad Boyles, who finished with a game-high 19 points, scored Bluffton's first eight points of the second half to give the Beavers a seven-point lead at 37-30 with 16:01 left in the game.
Anderson came back to take a 42-40 lead with 12:10 remaining and the lead would go back and forth for the next five minutes-a span that would come to an end at a crucial point for Bluffton. With the Beavers leading 49-47, Anderson went on a 10-0 run to go up 57-49 with 3:44 left to play and Bluffton wasn't able to regain the lead.
Back-to-back buckets from Leimeister, including a 3-pointer, and a layup from Boyles cut the lead to just three points at 59-56 with 2:12 remaining, but another Raven run, this time a 5-0 spurt, sealed the win for the hosts.
Leimeister, the HCAC's leading scorer at 22.2 points per game, was held to nine points in the contest, which marked his season low and was the first time since Feb. 9 of his junior season that he didn't score in double-figures. Freshman Darren Clark scored eight points while freshmen Simeon Talley and Eric Sweet both chipped in six points. Bixler dished out nine assists in the game, which was his second-highest total of the season.
Bluffton's defensive pressure kept the Beavers in the game as Anderson scored 17 points under their HCAC-leading average and shot just 41.1% from the field for the game, including 21.4% from 3-point range. Bluffton also turned the ball over just 15 times, which marked its lowest total in the past four games, and is an impressive statistic considering that Anderson led the HCAC this season in forced turnovers per game at 19.4.