Transylvania 84, Bluffton 62
Beavers struggle from field in 84-62 loss to HCAC-leading Transylvania
By Molly Burnell, sports information assistant
February 4, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio -The Bluffton University men's basketball team fell to Transylvania 84-62 on Saturday, February 4, 2006 in Founders Hall. With the loss the Beavers fall to 15-6 and 5-5 in the HCAC while the conference leading Pioneers move to 18-3 and 9-1 HCAC. Senior Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) hit the 1,000 point milestone late in the game to finish the contest with 1,003 points as a Beaver. Sweet, along with fellow senior Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore), have both reached the 1,000 point plateau and are the first two players from the same graduating class to hit the mark since 1984 when seniors Dave Givand (1,084 points) and Ken Dysert (1,021 points) both managed to pass the scoring mark in the same season.
Bergman ignited the Bluffton offense in the beginning minutes of the contest as he scored the first six points for the Beavers. Joey Searle opened things up for the Pioneers with two three-pointers to give Transy an 8-6 lead with 16:39 to play. Sweet connected on a lay up to bring Bluffton within two points before another Searle bucket pushed the Pioneer advantage back to four points. Two Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) free throws cut the Transy lead to two points one more time before the Beavers ran out of steam. Two more Rufenacht foul shots at the 10:41 mark pulled Bluffton to within five points before the Pioneers converted Bluffton turnovers and missed shots into points to open up a 10-point cushion with seven minutes to play. Sweet found the hoop and senior Darren Clark (Plain City/Jonathan Alter) connected on a jumper to slash the Transy lead to six points. The Pioneers went on a 9-1 run over the next three minutes and were able to take a 14-point advantage at the 4:13 mark. Key shots by Rufenacht, Bergman and Sweet cut the Transy lead in half as the Pioneers led by seven points with 11 seconds to play. Senior Joe Duzan (Dublun/Dublin Scioto) looked to have cleanly picked Bryan Howard's pocket but he was whistled for a foul in the waning seconds of the opening stanza and Howard drilled both attempts from the stripe to give the Pioneers a nine-point advantage at the end of the first period.
Following a Nick Wilson (Payne/Continental) bucket the Beavers trailed by only seven points early in the second half, but Transylvania outscored Bluffton 23-7 over the next eight minutes to open up a 23-point advantage midway through the period. After a quick timeout, junior Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) nailed two free throws and Sweet added another basket to cut the Transy lead to 19 points. The Pioneers scored three points before Tom Heil (Stow/Archbishop Hoban) drained the Beavers only triple of the contest to bring Bluffton back to within 19 at the 7:27 mark. Two Brock Jones foul shots sealed the deal for the Pioneers as Transy took the contest 84-62.
Bergman and Sweet led Bluffton with 16 points apiece. Sweet pulled down a team-high eight boards and swatted away four shots in the contest. Bergman, who moved into fifth place all-time on the career scoring list with 1,516 points, dished out a team-high five assists. Rufenacht scored a career-high 10 points and hauled in seven boards on the afternoon.
As a team Bluffton shot 37 percent from the field, including 1-18 from three-point range. Transy hit 51 percent in the victory and connected on 6-16 triples. The Beavers only managed 26 rebounds compared to the Pioneers 37 boards. Bluffton gave up 12 offensive rebounds which Transy converted into 23 second chance points. Both teams committed 14 turnovers in the game.
Bluffton will return to action on Wednesday, February 8, 2006 when it travels to Mount St. Joseph to face the Lions in an HCAC battle. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.