Bluffton 54, Rose-Hulman 49
Beavers remain perfect in HCAC following 54-49 win at Rose-Hulman
December 9, 2006
TERRA HAUTE, Ind. - In a contest bearing no resemblance to Bluffton's 103-93 overtime victory over Defiance College on Wednesday night in Founders Hall, the Beavers did their best work on the defensive end, pulling out a 54-49 victory over conference newcomer Rose-Hulman on Saturday, December 9, 2006. The victory was the seventh consecutive for Bluffton as the Beavers improved to 8-1 with a perfect 3-0 mark in the Heartland Conference, keeping the Beavers in sole possession of first place in the HCAC.
Bluffton avoided the slow start that has plagued the Beavers early this season, jumping out to 13-2 lead with 14:40 to play in the opening half and holding the Engineers to only one field goal through the first seven and a half minutes of the game. Sophomore Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) knocked down a pair of triples while freshman Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) hit one of his own to propel the Beavers to an early 11-point advantage.
The Engineers battled to cut the deficit to four points, 15-11, following a Lorenzo Rice three-pointer, but Mike Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. John's) converted in the key thanks to a Josiah Stober (Spencerville/Spencerville) assist and Stober tacked on a pair of free throws to put the Beavers up, 19-11, with 7:44 to play in the half. Stober then stepped outside and drained a triple at the five minute mark, making the score 24-17 in favor of the visitors.
Four Engineer offensive rebounds in the last four minutes of the stanza helped Rose-Hulman back into the game as Bluffton's lead was cut to thee points, 28-25, at the break.
Despite a PJ Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) bucket to open the second half, the Engineers trailed by only one point just over two minutes into period two.
Cunningham scored four straight points and Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) capped the 7-0 Bluffton run with his triple at the 16:06 mark.
Ron George, who led the Engineers with 17 points off the bench, scored five straight points to cut the Bluffton lead to three points, 37-34, with 14 minutes left in the game. Another George layup made the score 40-36 in favor of Bluffton with 11:17 on the clock.
The Beavers turned up the pressure defensively and kept the Engineers off the glass, not allowing another Rose-Hulman score until Jason Bednarko nailed a jumper with only 5:50 left in the game.
Rose-Hulman did not go away quietly, however, as a Bednarko triple and Phil Sundling layup cut the Beavers' advantage to two points, 49-47, with 1:12 to play. An Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) bucket and two Ron George free throws kept the Bluffton lead at two points with 37 ticks remaining.
A Schwieterman free throw and pair of Juenger charity tosses sealed the victory for the Beavers as Rose missed its final two triple attempts with time winding down.
Bluffton shot only 14-of-41 from the field (34 percent), including 6-of-15 from outside the arc, but Rose did not fare much better, shooting 35 percent for the game (20-of-57). Despite losing the battle on the boards, 37-31, the Beavers won the game at the foul line, converting 20-of-24 freebies (83 percent) while allowing the Engineers only eight free throw attempts.
Cunningham was the only Beaver in double digits with 10 points. Mike Anthony hit 6-of-8 from the charity stripe on his way to eight points. Schwieterman led the Beavers with three assists and three steals while knocking down nine points in the victory. Sophomore Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp), playing in just his second game of the year following a shoulder injury, swatted away two Rose-Hulman shots.
The Beavers will have finals week off before they travel to Carnegie Mellon on Wednesday, December 20, to face the Tartans. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.