Bluffton 80, Hanover 70
Beavers improve to 10-5 with 80-70 win at Hanover
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
January 12, 2008
HANOVER, Ind. - Bluffton University men's basketball team came away with another Heartland Conference road victory as the Beavers defeated Hanover College, 80-70, on Saturday, January 12, 2008. The win, Bluffton's third straight conference victory away from Founders, moved the Beavers to 10-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play. Hanover fell to 7-7 and 3-2 in the HCAC.
Josh Eichar (North Baltimore/North Baltimore) got Bluffton on the scoreboard early by picking up a steal and taking it in for a layup. Hanover answered back, opening up a four-point lead following a Mitchell Meyer bucket less than four minutes into the game.
Sophomore Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) connected on jumper, but the Beaver still trailed 6-4. After a defensive stop by Bluffton, Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) hit from distance, giving his team a 7-6 lead with 15:25 left in the first half.
Hanover reclaimed the lead on the next possession thanks to a Dan O'Leary jumper. The Beavers trailed by as many as six points later in the half, but they came storming back with back-to-back threes by P.J Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) and Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental) which tied the game at 17 with just under eight minutes left in the first half.
Neither team was able to create any separation late in the first. Hanover's Clint Parker split a pair of free throws, to tie the game for the third time at 25 with just 3:14 left before the break.
After the third tie, the Beavers seemed to find their stride. Colt Cunningham made a layin, was fouled and also converted on the free throw for a three-point Bluffton lead, which quickly turned into an eight-point advantage when a Nick Wilson layup made it 33-25 at the half.
Bluffton came out in the second stanza and did a good job of protecting the lead, never allowing the Panthers back on top.
Hanover's Robby Brown tried to rally the home team by scoring seven straight points midway through the period. During that stretch, Brown converted an old-fashioned three-point play and a pair of conventional buckets. His third consecutive hoop trimmed the Bluffton lead to a single point, 49-48, with 9 minutes left in the game.
Hanover made one last charge with another Robby Brown jumper, trimming the deficit to one, but Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) hit a triple on the Beavers' next possession, giving Bluffton a 52-48 lead. Bluffton buried eight consecutive charity tosses during the final 1:33 for an 80-70 victory over the Panthers.
The Beavers had a balanced scoring attack with four players putting up double figures, led by Zack Kraus who scored a career-high 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. Colt Cunningham dished out a game-high four assists to go along with his 17 points, and Nick Wilson finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Nate Overmyer went 3-of-5 from outside the arc for 12 points and he led Bluffton with three steals.
The Beavers had 11 turnovers, compared to Hanover's 13. Bluffton was able to capitalize on free throws, shooting an impressive 14-17 (82.4 percent) as a team. Both teams made 28 shots, with Hanover taking three fewer than Bluffton, 64-61.
Robby Brown paced Hanover with 18 points and 13 rebounds on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. Clint Parker chipped in with 13 points and three assists.
The Beavers return home for their next game, Wednesday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m. against the Mount St. Joseph Lions.