2012-13 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 72, Franklin 69
Beavers continue winning ways with 72-69 victory over Franklin
January 26, 2013
By: Keisha Holtsberry, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team defeated Franklin College, 72-69, on Saturday, Jan. 26, showing off in front of the Alumni Day and Hall of Fame crowd. Bluffton improved to 9-10 overall and 5-7 in the Heartland Conference with its fifth victory in the last six games. Franklin fell to 11-8 overall and 6-6 in the HCAC.
Junior Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) made a layup to tie the score up at four just over two mintues into the game. Franklin went back ahead before Pope cashed in with another layup to tie the game at six. The Beavers then went ahead by two with a jumper from freshman Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic). Less than 20 seconds later, Franklin answered for the third tie of the game.
The home team pulled ahead once again with a jumper from sophomore Ryan Ebbeskotte (Fort Jennings/Delphos Jefferson) and a layup from Taflinger. With 10:07 on the clock, the Grizzlies took the lead and held on until the 5:35 mark when senior Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) made two free throws. Six Bluffton freebies, including four from Fisher and two by Pope, and a Taflinger trifecta gave the Beavers a 36-32 lead at the break.
The Beavers came out ready to roll in the second half and quickly increased their lead to 10 thanks to consecutive treys from Ebbeskotte. The lead hovered between six and ten points until Gunner Erwin's layup and triple with 16 ticks left made it a two-point game (69-67). With four seconds left Erwin got to the rack, pulling Franklin within a point, but two free throws from Ebbeskotte sealed the 72-69 victory.
Bluffton was led by Pope with 15 points and eight rebounds. Ebbeskotte contributed a career-high 13 points and went 2-of-2 from deep. Taflinger dropped in a career-best 12 markers on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. Josh Fisher added 12 points and five dimes. Franklin's Erwin led all scorers with 29 points on 9-of-20 from the field and 8-for-10 at the line.
The Beavers went 23-of-50 (46.0 percent) from the field, while Franklin was 24-of-55 (43.6 percent). Bluffton converted on 23-of-30 (76.7 percent) at the stripe compared to Franklin's 16-of-22 (72.7 percent). The Beavers went 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from distance, while Franklin finished just 5-of-20 (25.0 percent).
The win over Franklin, coupled with Mount St. Joseph's loss to HCAC-leading Rose-Hulman, moves Bluffton into a tie with the Mount for sixth place and a berth in the Heartland Conference tournament. The Beavers will have a chance to avenge their November 28 loss to the Mount when Bluffton heads to MSJ on Wednesday night. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio.