Bluffton 63, Anderson 61
Beavers snap two-game skid and improve to 14-3 with 63-61 win at Anderson
By Bill Hanefeld Jr., sports information director
January 21, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team improved to 14-3 and 4-2 in the HCAC with a 63-61 victory at Anderson (7-10, 2-4 HCAC) on Saturday, January 21, 2006. The Beavers, who were playing without injured starters Darren Clark and Mike Anthony, snapped their two-game losing skid and remain tied for second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with Franklin and Hanover. Their 14 wins equals the number of wins that the Beavers posted last year when they finished the season with a 14-13 record. The charity stripe was the difference for the Beavers as they sank 24-34 compared to Anderson's 10-17.
The Ravens flew out to a 7-2 lead at the 17:29 mark following a Nick Cochran triple and a pair of J.D. Clampitt layups. Junior David Patch (Minster/Minster) pulled the Beavers to within four points (15-11) when he hit the second of consecutive layups midway through the first half. Nick Rogers and Clampitt answered with three-pointers which forced the Beavers, down 21-11, to call their second timeout at the 9:10 mark. Dominating senior center Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa Glandorf) then went to work on the low block and rallied Bluffton with 10 points in a four-minute stretch to help the Beavers close to within four (27-23) with just over four minutes left in the opening period. Following a Rogers layup, freshman guard Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian), who stepped up and played 26 minutes in the contest, drained a long-range trifecta to cut the Ravens' advantage to five (35-30) at the break.
Junior playmaker Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) opened the second half with a triple of his own and Sweet got to the rack again as the Beavers knotted the game at 35 less than two minutes into the period. Both teams then went cold from the field for nearly five minutes as the Beavers found themselves down by five until Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore) hit a jumper at the 13:46 mark. Bluffton then began to penetrate to the basket and force Anderson to commit fouls. Bergman hit six consecutive free throws and Cunningham sank his second bomb of the night to put the Beavers on top 48-47 with 10:30 left in the second half. Schwieterman sliced his way to the basket at the 4:41 mark of the game to give the Beavers a six-point cushion (58-52). Following another pair of Bergman free throws, the Ravens Ian Lafferty hit a jumper and Clampitt and Rogers both went one-of-two at the line to cut the gap to one point with one minute left in the game. The Beavers and Ravens traded baskets before freshman Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) stole the inbounds pass and made one of his attempts from the charity stripe to seal the victory for Bluffton by a final score of 63-61.
Sweet, who fouled out with 1:30 to play, led the Beavers with 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Bergman hit all 10 of his free throw attempts as he finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Cunningham hit a pair of triples on his way to an eight point and four rebound performance. Schwieterman finished with seven points and dished out three assists. Rufenacht hit 4-6 from the line for six points and hauled in four rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Bluffton will return to action on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 when it hosts long-time rival Defiance College in an HCAC battle. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.