Transylvania 60, Bluffton 57
Beavers rally but come up short to Transylvania, 60-57
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
February 9, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball fell behind early, and the deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Beavers fell to conference foe Transylvania University by a score of 60-57. The loss drops Bluffton to 11-11 overall, and 5-8 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The second place Pioneers improved to 13-8 overall with an 8-4 mark in the HCAC
Transylvania opened the game with a 5-0 run. Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental) converted a layup to get Bluffton within three points, 7-4, with 17:36 left in the first half. Transylvania continued its full-court pressure and the Beavers coughed it up five times during the first four minutes of action.
The Beavers struggled to find an offensive rhythm early, and would fall behind by 13 following a layup by Blake McCowan which made the score 19-6 with just over 14 minutes left in the first half. A pair of makes at the free throw line by Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp) at the 10:34 mark would make the score 24-10 in favor of Transylvania. On the Pioneers' next possession, Stephen Gabbard would add three more points thanks to his long-range bomb, extending Transylvania's lead to a game-high 17.
Over the next 16 minutes which stretched into the second stanza, Bluffton went on a 23-4 jag to take a 33-31 lead over the visitors with 16:51 to play in the contest.
With 6:52 left in the first half, sophomore Jordan Pothast (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) knocked down a jumper to trim the deficit to 10 points, 27-17. Bluffton continued to gain ground on the Pioneers for the rest of the half. Senior sharpshooter Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) drilled a trifecta with 3:31 to play in the half to make it a nine-point game, 31-22.
Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) added another three-pointer, making the score 31-25 on Bluffton's next trip down the floor. The Beavers went into the break down only three, 31-28, when Aaron Taylor got to the rack with just under a minute and a half left.
Bluffton's Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) hit from in the paint on the opening possession of the second half, leaving Transylvania with a slim edge, 31-30. Three minutes later, Kraus would give the Beavers an early second half lead, 33-31, with a layup at the 16:51 mark.
Bluffton and Transylvania went toe-to-toe as neither team could pull away during the second half. With 11:04 left, Kraus drained a pair of free throws, giving Bluffton a 38-37 lead. The Beavers' lead was short lived as Tim Tierney responded with two free throws, making the score 46-42 in favor of the Pioneers.
A three-pointer by Joey Verax at the 4:39 mark pushed the Transy lead to 52-46. Colt Cunningham hit from distance on Bluffton's ensuing possession, cutting the deficit to three points. That was the closest the Beavers could get as Transy hit six free throws down the stretch to preserve the 60-57 victory despite a Kraus triple just before the buzzer.
Colt Cunningham led Bluffton in scoring with 17 points, while teammate Zack Kraus dropped in 16 points. Nate Overmyer led the Beavers with four assists. In the rebounding category, P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) led the way with six.
The Beavers hit 17-of-41 shots from the field for 41.5 percent, compared to 19-of-43 (44.2 percent) for Transylvania. Transy finished 15-of-19 from the line (78.9 percent), while the Beavers hit 18-of-23 freebies (78.3 percent). Bluffton held a 29-23 edge on the glass and turned it over 16 times, four more miscues than the Pioneers committed, but a 27-10 deficit midway through the first half proved to the difference in the contest.
Tim Tierney paced Transylvania in scoring, contributing 19 points on 7-12 shooting. He also dished out a game-high five assists in the victory. Stephen Gabbard and Blake McCowan finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Bluffton returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008, when it will try to snap a six-game Heartland Conference skid against Hanover College. Tip time is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Founders Hall.