Bluffton drops two at North Central Tip-off TournamentBy Tim Stried
November 25, 2002
|Special to: The Bluffton News (Nov. 28), The Witmarsum (Nov. 29), Alumni e-newsletter (Nov. 26), but you read it here first.
By a combined total of just five points, the Bluffton College men's basketball team dropped both games at the North Central College Tip-off Tournament last weekend in Naperville, Ill.
Bluffton traveled to Earlham College Nov. 26 and will return home for the Comfort Inn/Taco Bell Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Founders Hall November 29 and 30. The Beavers play Marygrove College at 8 p.m. on the 29th.
Bluffton 88, Ozarks 90
The University of the Ozarks (Arkansas) scored the final five points of the game in the last 30 seconds to hand Bluffton a 90-88 loss last Friday night in the opening game at North Central.
Bluffton led 88-85 with 42 seconds left to play after two free throws by Marcus Bixler, but Ozarks hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to take the lead and added a free throw with 10 seconds left to claim the 2-point win.
The game was highlighted by 35 ties or lead changes as neither team was able to build a double-digit lead at any point in the game.
Leimeister scored 20 of Bluffton's first 26 points in the game and finished the first half with 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting. He was held to an 0-for-2 performance in the second half, however, before fouling out, along with Derek DeNero and Eric Sweet.
Bluffton led by eight points with 11:22 left in the first half, which would be the Beavers biggest lead of the night. At that point, however, Ozarks went on a 24-8 run to take a 32-24 lead with 6:52 left before halftime. Bluffton scored the last seven points of the first half to tie the score at 47-47 at the intermission.
Leimeister finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Junior Brad Boyles scored a career-high 19 points, while Bixler scored a career-high 16 points. DeNero ended the game with 16 points, as well.
Bluffton 60, North Central 63
Bluffton led 33-30 at halftime but saw North Central University (Minn.) come back to take a 63-60 win over the Beavers Saturday afternoon in the consolation game at the North Central College (Ill.).
Bluffton out-rebounded NCU 40-34 and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, but was held to a 37.3% shooting clip from the field, including a 3-for-15 effort from 3-point range.
Senior Mike Leimeister was named to the All-Tournament Team as he scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Saturday's game to finish the two-day tournament with 41 points and 17 rebounds.
Senior Derek DeNero collected a game-high 19 points and four steals against NCU and added six rebounds, while senior Marcus Bixler had a career-high seven steals. Sophomore Bryce Beilharz scored a career-high eight points.