Bluffton takes advantage of foul line in 76-64 win over RHIT
January 8, 2011
By: Josh Bruner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team used a dominating second
half performance to down Heartland Conference rival Rose-Hulman on Saturday, January
8, 2011. RHIT led 34-28 at the break before the Beavers came out with a vengeance
in period two to secure a 76-64 victory. Bluffton improved to 9-4 overall and 2-4
in the HCAC, while Rose slipped to 9-4 and 3-3 in the conference.
A slow start by the Beavers allowed Rose-Hulman to take a 4-0 lead just over three
minutes into the contest. Nick Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) finally broke the ice at the 16:24 mark before Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) knotted the game with his jumper on Bluffton's next trip down
the floor. Fisher followed his duece with a trifecta that put the home team up by
three with 14:56 to play in the half.
The Beavers pulled ahead by 10 at the 11:23 mark. A Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) layup gave Bluffton a 16-6 lead. Rose-Hulman responded with four
points from Julian Strickland which cut the lead to six with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The teams continued to trade points through the next few minutes. Rose made it a to
a one possession game (21-18) after a Strickland layup with 6:34 left in the half.
Bluffton opened a five-point cushion after two Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) free throws, but the Engineers answered with a run that gave the visitors
a 26-23 lead following Brenton Balsbaugh jumper with two and a half minutes left in the period. The Beavers slowed Rose with
two Josh Johnson (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) free throws. The Engineers added another spurt at the end
of the half, going ahead 34-28 at the break after a Spencer Harlan layup.
Rose-Hulman still held its six-point lead after three minutes of play before Bluffton
made it a one-point game following two Mychal Hill (London/Jonathan Alder) free throws with 16 minutes left. The Beavers went up by
two after a Kinn free throw, but the Engineers reclaimed the lead after a Strickland
layup at the 11-minute mark.
Bluffton broke a 48-48 tie with a Johnson three-pointer late in the shot clock at
the 8:27 mark. The Beavers maintained their lead over the next minutes, as they made
it 58-55 at the 5:04 mark with a Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) layup.
Bluffton finally took control of the game in the waning minutes, going ahead by nine
with just 3:27 left after another Pope layup. The Beavers continued to hit free throws
at the end of the game, going 27-of-34 en route to the 76-64 win over the Engineers.
Leading the Bluffton offense was Hill who put together 14 points on a superb 11-of-12
afternoon at the line. He also collected six boards. Pope followed closely, adding
12 and four rebounds. Johnson, Heckelman and Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) each chipped in with eight. The Engineers were led by Austin Weatherford with 22. Strickland added 16 and Nate Gissentanner nine.
The Engineers outshot the Beavers from the field, hitting 26-of-58 (44.8 percent)
attempts, while the Beavers made 22-of-54 (40.7 percent). The Beavers proved more
efficient from behind the arc, going 5-of-11 (45.5 percent), while the Engineers only
hit 2-of-15 (13.3 percent). Bluffton also shot better from the line, hitting 27-of-34
(79.4 percent) as Rose-Hulman converted only 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) attempts. The
Beavers posted a slim 35-32 advantge on the boards and the home team turned it over
six fewer times (13-7).
The Beavers return to action in Founders Hall on Wednesday, January 12, 2011. They
will host the Spartans of Manchester at 7:30 p.m.