Transylvania 58, Bluffton 53
Transylvania comes away with 58-53 win over Beavers
February 14, 2009
LEXINGTON, Kentucky - The Bluffton University men's basketball team again battled Transylvania down to the wire in the teams' second defensive struggle of the season, but this time the Pioneers came out on top (58-53) at the Beck Center on Saturday, February 14, 2009. Aaron Taylor (Antwerp) had a nice look right in front of the Bluffton bench with five ticks remaining, but his triple to tie rimmed out and Tim Tierney capped Transy's victory with a pair of free throws at the other end.
Bluffton slipped back into a tie for fourth place in the Heartland Conference with Anderson University at 7-7, and 13-10 overall. Transylvania kept its hopes of hosting the tournament alive by improving to 17-5 overall and 11-3 in the conference. Transy is tied with Defiance for second place, one game behind HCAC leader Franklin College.
Junior guard Josh Eichar (North Baltimore) gave the Beavers a quick 4-0 lead with a putback and layup in the first minute of the game. Following a Matthew Parton long ball, freshman Nick Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) sliced his way to a bucket in the paint, making it 6-3 in favor of the visitors.
An 11-2 run by the Pioneers included two Bluffton turnovers and a pair of Transy layups as the Pioneers took a 14-10 lead with 12:37 to play in the half. Senior captain Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) sandwiched a couple jumpers around a Josiah Stober (Spencerville) chip shot to pull the Beavers even at 14 apiece.
Five points from Chris Owens and a Joey Verax basket made the score 21-14 less than two minutes later before the visitors responded with eight unanswered points. Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) and Aaron Taylor got their names in the scoring column during the spurt and Nick Lee capped the surge with a nice feed to backcourt mate Josh Eichar.
With the score knotted at 24, Aaron Cash hit from outside the arc to give Transy a three-point lead, but Taylor knocked down a jumper in the paint and Cunningham collected a Nick Wilson (Continental) miss and put it back up and in with one second left to give the Beavers a 28-27 edge at the break.
Neither team was able to get any separation throughout the second half as the lead changed hands 11 times in the final 20 minutes of the contest. Despite connecting on just one shot from the field during the first five minutes of period two, free throws by Cunningham and Taylor allowed Bluffton to stay close until a Taylor triple put the team from Ohio back on top (37-35).
Following a Cunningham layin that gave the Beavers a 43-42 lead with 10:21 to play, Bluffton's offense again went on hiatus, scoring just two baskets the rest of the way. Stober took advantage of a Taylor assist and freshman Mychal Hill (London/Jonathon Alder) hit from distance to pull Bluffton within a point at the 1:40 mark despite the offensive woes.
A foul by the Beavers on the offensive end coupled with a Matthew Parton deuce made it a three-point game with 21 seconds to play. Taylor had a good look from deep on the right wing with five ticks left, but it was not meant to be as Transylvania averted the sweep by hauling in the board and knocking down a pair of free throws for the 58-53 win.
Aaron Taylor led three Beavers in double digits with 11 points. He also handed out two assists. Josh Eichar and Colt Cunningham both dropped in 10 points and Cunningham's six boards paced Bluffton.
Bluffton hit 21-of-43 from the field (48.8 percent), compared to 21-of-44 (47.7 percent) by the Pioneers. The Beavers finished with a 28-24 advantage on the glass, but the visitors turned it over four more times (13-9) and Transy made five more threes (7-2). Joey Verax tallied a game-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field.
The Beavers return to action on Wednesday, February 18, when they travel to face HCAC rival Defiance College. The contest is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. in the Weaner Center.