Bluffton 76, UC Clermont 74
Beavers claim third straight McDonald's championship with win over UC Clermont
By Shannon Ramer and Jordon Bruner, sports information assistants
December 30, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers defeated UC Clermont to claim the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament championship in Founders Hall. Clutch shooting down the stretch helped the Beavers to a 76-74 victory over Clermont. Bluffton improved to 11-1 with its 10th straight win and third consecutive McDonald's championship while Clermont fell to 10-9.
Bluffton jumped out to an early 11-6 run behind the shooting of tournament MVP Mike Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. Johns) as he buried two consecutive shots.
The Cougars used a three from Seth Steele to take a 22-20 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. The two teams went back in forth trading baskets until Brad Hosler scored two of his 12 first-half points to give Clermont a 31-30 lead.
Another basket by Steele and a free throw by Hosler gave the Cougars a four-point advantage just before halftime. With just a few ticks left on the clock, junior Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) pulled up just past the timeline and drilled a three to make the score 34-33 in favor of Clermont at the break.
Bluffton continued its second half domination as the Beavers went on a 19-8 run to start the second half and take a 52-42 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the contest. Anthony continued to be the team's go-to-guy as he dropped in nine points during that stretch.
The Cougars, behind the inside-out tandem of Hosler and John Stone, cut the lead in half with six minutes to play. Back-to-back buckets by Hosler and two Stone triples made the score 64-59 in favor of Bluffton.
Overmyer and sophomore Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) hit big shots with the game hanging in the balance to help the Beavers hold off a late surge by Clermont. Overmyer hit two of his career-high six three-pointers in the last two minutes, while Cunningham dropped in two free throws and a jumper in traffic.
The Beavers were able to get to the line in the second half as they were 11-of-15 after being limited to four attempts in the first half. As a team they shot 45 percent from the field, including 42 percent from downtown.
Overmyer came off the bench to lead Bluffton in scoring with 19 points, shooting 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Anthony dropped in 18 points, while also pulling down a team-high six rebounds. Cunningham was the only other Beaver to reach double figures in scoring as he put up 15 on 6-of-12 shooting. Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) and junior P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) contributed with nine and eight points respectively.
Bluffton is set to face HCAC rival Transylvania on Wednesday, January 3, 2006. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Founders Hall.