Anderson 74, Bluffton 69
Bluffton drops fourth straight at Anderson, 74-69
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
February 2, 2008
ANDERSON, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team came up short on the road, 74-69, against conference foe Anderson University. Bluffton now stands 11-9 (5-6 HCAC) after the loss, the Beavers' fourth consecutive HCAC setback. Anderson improved to 11-10, with a 7-5 mark in the HCAC.
The Beavers were paced early by the fast start of senior P.J Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller). He converted a layup on Bluffton's first possession, and also hit a three-pointer the next time down the floor, giving Bluffton a 5-0 lead.
Jordan Wiseman hit a jump shot with 18:45 left in the first half, for Anderson's first basket. Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) answered with his first three of the day on Bluffton's ensuing possession, giving the Beavers an 8-2 lead. Overmyer had an outstanding day for Bluffton, bucketing a new career-high with 24 points, including a 7-for-9 shooting performance form beyond the arc.
Anderson chipped away at the Bluffton lead, tying the game at 10 on a Ryan Fultz layup with 16:11 in the first half. Following a Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental) triple, the Ravens used a 12-2 spurt to open up a 24-15 lead with 11:38 to play in the first half.
Overmyer helped bring his team back into the game with consecutive three-pointers, trimming the deficit from nine to three points, 24-21, a minute later.
Anderson continued to protect its single-digit lead. With Bluffton trailing by eight points, Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisvile) got to the rack for a layup, and then split on a pair of free throws on the next possession as the Beavers made the score 37-32 with 3:27 on the clock.
Bluffton would trail by as many as nine points with less than a minute to go before halftime, but a pair of Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp) freebies cut the deficit to seven at the half, 44-37.
Anderson started fast in the second half as the Ravens built an early nine-point advantage, 52-43, at the 18:13 mark. Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) and Nate Overmyer combined for back-to-back threes which trimmed the Anderson advantage to 54-51.
The Beavers failed to get over the hump and three possessions later they were back down by eight, 61-53, after a Ryan Fultz jumper at the 13:57 mark.
Late in the half, P.J Juenger hit from in close, making the score 68-62 with just under eight minutes left. The Ravens tightened their grip defensively and protected the lead, extending it to eight points, 72-64, with a Gabe Miller layup
The Beavers had one final rally left as yet another Nate Overmyer triple made the score 72-67 with just over two minutes left in the game. Aaron Taylor would hit a pair of free throws on Bluffton's next possession to make the score 72-69 with 1:14 left. The Beavers failed to score in the final minute as Anderson held on for the 74-69 victory despite scoring only two points during the final 5:23 of the game.
The Beavers were led in scoring by Nate Overmyer with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 7-of-9 from deep. Colt Cunningham was the only other Beaver in double digits, going 7-of-11 for 19 points. P.J. Juenger added nine points and Nick Wilson chipped in eight points and six rebounds. Justin Rufenacht dished out a team-high four assists.
Bluffton hit 23-of-41 from the field (56.1 percent), including 11-of-16 from outside the arc (68.8 percent), but the Beavers committed 20 turnovers, compared to only 14 by the Ravens. Anderson's bench also proved to be a big advantage, outscoring Bluffton 25-12.
Ryan Fultz scored 19 points to lead Anderson. He and Keith Dabney both pulled down nine rebounds for the victors who had a commanding 34-23 edge on the glass. Mike Russell dropped in 14 points for the Ravens.
Bluffton returns to action on Wednesday, February 6, 2008, when the Beavers travel to Manchester for their third straight road contest. The game is slated to tip at 7:30 p.m. in North Manchester, Indiana.