Bluffton 69, Carnegie Mellon 65
Beavers upend Carnegie Mellon for eighth straight victory, 69-65
December 20, 2006
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Refusing to allow the Tartans to avenge their loss at Bluffton a year ago, the Beavers used outstanding first half shooting to pick up their eighth consecutive win, a 69-65 victory over Carnegie Mellon on Wednesday, December 20, 2006. With the win, the Beavers will enter the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament at 9-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the Heartland Conference. The loss dropped Carnegie Mellon to 5-3 on the season.
The Beavers saw a 15-point lead with 14:05 to play evaporate late in the second half as Carnegie Mellon used a 26-10 run during an 11-minute stretch to take its only lead of the game, 62-61, with just under three minutes to play. Senior post PJ Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) put the Beavers back in control with consecutive baskets for a 65-62 Bluffton lead with 1:23 left in the game.
Following a missed three-pointer by Ryan Einwag, who led the Tartans with 16 points and 11 boards, senior point guard Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) was fouled and calmly sank both free throws to give the Beavers a five-point advantage. Senior Ricky Reucher (Toledo/Central Catholic) split a pair from the line before Geoff Kozak buried a deep triple to cut the Bluffton lead to three points, 68-65, with 18 seconds on the clock.
Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) sealed the victory when he hit one of his free throws with 15 ticks remaining. Kozak and Einwag both missed three-pointers in the game's waning seconds as the Beavers hung on to take Carnegie Mellon down for the second consecutive year.
Points came at a premium early on as a pair of Cunningham buckets gave the Beavers a 4-0 lead three minutes into the contest. When junior Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) knocked down a trifecta at the 12:40 mark of the first half, he gave Bluffton a 13-5 lead over the Tartans who came into the game averaging over 81 points per game.
Senior Mike Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. John's) followed a Cunningham layin with a triple, giving Bluffton a 22-11 lead midway through the opening stanza. Sophomore Josiah Stober (Spencerville/Spencerville) pushed the margin to 12 points with his jumper at the 6:20 mark.
Offensive boards and stickbacks kept Carnegie in the game throughout the first half as the Tartans ended the contest with 13 offensive rebounds. A Dan Sawl putback trimmed the deficit to seven points with less than two minutes to play in the half, but Juenger and Cunningham answered for the Beavers who took a 39-29 lead into halftime.
Bluffton opened the second half with six consecutive points, including four from floor general Eric Schwieterman, forcing the Tartans to call a timeout. A Stober layup gave the Beavers a seemingly insurmountable 15-point cushion with 14 minutes and change to play, but Carnegie made Bluffton sweat out the slim 69-65 victory at the free throw line.
Cunningham, who went 7-of-10 from the field in the opening stanza, led the Beavers with 17 points and two assists. Schwieterman and Anthony also hit for double-digits with 13 points apiece. Anthony pulled down six rebounds while Schwieterman picked up two steals. Juenger, who scored eight points, led Bluffton with seven boards in the victory.
The Beavers went 28-of-55 from the field, including 18-of-28 in the first half (64 percent), for 51 percent shooting. Bluffton hit 10-of-14 (71 percent) from the stripe in the second half after getting to the line for only two shots in the opening half.
Bluffton next hits the hardwood again on Friday, December 29, when it hosts Wright State-Lake Campus in the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. following the Grove City-UC Clermont contest.