Franklin 80, Bluffton 67
Franklin uses 36-24 edge on boards for 80-67 win over Beavers
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
January 19, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Bluffton University men's basketball team was defeated by HCAC rival Franklin College, 80-67, on Saturday, January 19, 2008, at Founders Hall. Bluffton dropped to 11-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play, while the Grizzlies improved to 10-6 overall and 4-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The Beavers started out strong as Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) hit a jumper and Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) followed with a layup to give Bluffton the early lead. Kraus got to the rack two straight times to put the Beavers up, 8-4.
Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) drove to the bucket and added two more points with a fadeaway jumper. Following a drive by Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp), Bluffton led 15-11 at the 12:16 mark. Franklin responded with a 9-0 run over the next three minutes for a 20-15 lead.
In response, Kraus dished to Aaron Taylor for a layin and Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental) picked up two points for the Beavers. After drives by Kraus and Taylor, Cunningham hit another jumper to pull Bluffton within two points of Franklin, 27-25.
Ben Shindeldecker (Ohio City/Crestview) knotted the score 29 with his bucket. At the 3:20 mark, another layin by Taylor tied the score at 31, but the Grizzlies answered with a trey by Sean Drake. With time winding down in the first half, Marty Young picked up a steal and Dustin Marshall dialed long distance for 37-34 Franklin lead at the break.
A triple by Nick Wilson fired up the Bluffton offense early in the second half. The rally was short-lived as the Grizzlies went on a 12-2 run following a score by Taylor with 16:11 to play in the game.
A layin by Kraus and a Colt Cunningham jumper cut the margin to eight points at the 10 minute mark.
Josh Eichar (North Baltimore/North Baltimore) picked up a steal and converted a pair from the free throw line with 7:03 left on the clock. A layup by Eichar, following his second straight theft, and a drive by Taylor cut the deficit to five points, 65-60, at the 5:26 mark.
Kraus added four more points for the Beavers, but it was not enough for the win as Franklin's coach Kerry Prather picked up its 400th victory with the 80-67 win over the Beavers.
Bluffton was led by Zack Kraus and Aaron Taylor with 20 points each. Kraus, who set his own personal career-high, also had three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Taylor pulled down six boards and picked up two steals. Colt Cunningham finished with 10 points and Nick Wilson chipped in with nine points, three rebounds, two assists and one block.
Franklin was led by Marty Young with 22 points, 16 boards, a block and a steal. Jeff Gasser and Jace Redman had 15 and 13 points for the Grizzlies, respectively.
Bluffton went 24-of-51 (47 percent) from the field, compared to 27-of-56 (48 percent) for Franklin. The Beavers made only one three-pointer for the game, while the Grizzlies buried six from behind the arc (35 percent). Both teams shot well from the charity stripe, but Bluffton had the slight edge as the Beavers went 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) and Franklin finished 20-of-25 (80 percent). The Grizzlies grabbed 12 more rebounds than the Beavers, 36-24.
Bluffton will return to action when the Beavers host HCAC rival Rose-Hulman on Saturday, January 26, 2008. The men's contest will immediately follow the women's game vs. the Engineers which is slated to start at 1 p.m. on Bluffton's annual Hall of Fame Day.