bc 58, mc 71
Bluffton falls to HCAC pre-season poll champ Manchester 71-58
By Tim Stried
December 4, 2002
Bluffton College was dealt a 71-58 loss in Founders Hall Wednesday night by Manchester College, the pre-season favorite in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches' poll.
It was the first HCAC game for both teams, as Bluffton drops to 0-1 in the league and 2-4 overall, while Manchester improves to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the HCAC.
Bluffton trailed by just six points at halftime despite shooting 23% from the floor and going 0-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half. Bluffton's defensive pressure forced 13 Manchester turnovers in the first 20 minutes and the Beavers grabbed 10 offensive rebounds.
Early in the second half, however, the Spartans went on a 13-0 run to go up by 20 points with 13:45 left in the game before Bluffton mounted a comeback of their own with an 11-0 run that brought the deficit to six at 50-56 with 5:26 remaining.
That would be all the closer Bluffton would get, however, as the Spartans would hold BC without a field goal the rest of the game.
After 13 turnovers in the first half, Manchester gave the ball away just three times in the second half and finished the game 10-for-21 from 3-point range and took a 42-35 advantage on the boards.
Bluffton turned the ball over a season-low 10 times and committed a season-low 13 fouls, but Manchester held Bluffton to several other season lows, including points (58), field goals made (19), three-point shooting (3-for-20) and total field goal percentage (.317).
Senior Mike Leimeister scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while junior Brad Boyles scored 14 points and collected a career-high eight rebounds.
The Spartan bench outscored Bluffton's reserves 28-5. Starter Dennis Gates led Manchester with 18 points.
Bluffton will travel to Hanover College Saturday at 3 p.m. with WDOH 107.1 FM bringing the live broadcast.