Bluffton 82, Franklin 74
Beavers open HCAC with 82-74 victory over pre-season favorite Franklin College
By: Shannon Ramer, sports information assistant
December 2, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton Beavers men's basketball team defeated Franklin, 82-74, on Saturday, December 2, 2006, in Founders Hall. The Beavers picked up their sixth win to improve to 6-1, 1-0 in the Heartland Conference while Franklin fell to 2-3, 1-1 in the HCAC.
Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) opened the scoring for the Beavers with a layup 20 seconds into the game. Franklin stepped up, showcasing its tight defense and efficient offense. Bluffton started racking up the fouls up with seven in the first ten minutes of the game. Franklin had a seven-point cushion, up 22-15 over the Beavers.
Sophomore Josiah Stober (Spencerville/Spencerville) took charge of the court with the Beavers down, 36-30, blocking consecutive Franklin offerings and dishing the rock to Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace), who drained a three, trimming the Franklin lead to five points, 38-33, with 1:24 to play in the first half. Stober pulled down two more rebounds while Schwieterman blocked the last shot in the half. The Beavers found themselves down by seven, 40-33, at the break.
Schwieterman opened the second half with three consecutive runners in the paint. Bluffton was back in the game less than a minute into the second half when Franklin called a quick timeout to slow the Beavers. Bluffton finally went ahead of the Grizzlies when Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) nailed a triple, putting Bluffton up, 44-43. Stober pulled down two more rebounds and buried two shots at the line.
Senior Ricky Reucher (Toledo/Central Catholic) kept the Beavers on top when he nailed a baseline jumper off an assist from freshman Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay). Franklin maintained the pace with two layins by Paul Galbraith, knotting the contest at 57 with 7:46 to play.
Franklin kept the pressure on the Beavers but the Grizzlies saw the game slip away as they missed eight straight three-pointers in the waning minutes of the contest. Bluffton started to pull away as key Mike Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. John's) foul shots and the Beavers' defense was the difference down the stretch.
Bluffton shot 58 percent from the field (26-of-45), including a phenomenal 75 percent the second half (15-of-20). The Beavers limited Franklin to 39 percent shooting (27-of-69). Bluffton finished the game 25-of-31 from the free throw line for 81 percent.
Mike Anthony had a team-high 19 points, going 5-of-7 from the field and 9-of-10 at the charity stripe. Stober fashioned his first collegiate double-double, tallying 10 points to go along with his team-high 10 rebounds. Eric Schwieterman carved the Franklin defense, slicing to the hole to open both halves as he tied his career-high with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. He also led the team with four assists. Colt Cunningham and Nate Overmyer rounded out the double-digit scoring for Bluffton as they both finished with 13 points.
Bluffton returns to action on Wednesday, December 6, 2006, when it hosts Heartland Conference rival Defiance College. Tip-off in Founders Hall is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.