2013-14 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 65, Earlham 63
By: Blade Tackett, sports information assistant
February 19, 2014
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team won a thriller Wednesday night against the Earlham College Quakers. The Beavers were led by sophomore Thayne Recker (Arlington) who scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for his sixth career double-double. Behind Recker, Bluffton got production from Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) and Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Junior Zach Rumbaugh (Lima/Senior) continued to bring energy off the bench as he knocked in two from deep with two assists and three steals. The night, however, belonged to senior Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) as he finished his last career road game with a memory to last a lifetime.
Earlham was hot out of the gate on both ends of the court as they held Bluffton to 1-of-7 shooting while jumping out to a 12-2 lead in the first seven minutes. A Recker layup and seven straight points from Billy Taflinger sent Bluffton on a 9-0 run and in less than two minutes they were back in the game. While Earlham held a lead for the rest of the half, Bluffton was able to hang around and a steal plus a bucket from Taflinger at the buzzer made it a two-point game going into the break.
Bluffton struck first in the second half with a three from junior Ryan Ebbeskotte to take the lead for the first time in the game. Four more lead changes over the next five minutes and an old-fashioned three point play from Ebbescotte put Bluffton up three with 13:12 left to play. Over the next 12 minutes both teams continued to battle back and forth. Just as Bluffton seemed to have a cushion, a big stop and bucket from Earlham put the Quake right back in the game.
With the visitors up by two points and only 1:13 left in the game, Earlham's Kirk Douglas came up with a huge block, one of his eight for the night, at the end of Bluffton's possession and then forced Thayne Recker into a foul on the other end of the floor with just 15 seconds left on the game clock. Douglas knocked down both free throws to tie the game at 63. The inbound was to Ryan Ebbeskotte who went the length of the floor to put up a layup with only two ticks left on the clock. A missed shot fell into the hands of Dustin Kinn and he tipped it in at the buzzer to give Bluffton the 65-63 win!
Bluffton finished 23-of-52 from the field (44.2 percent), 6-for-14 from deep (42.9 percent) and 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) at the free throw line. The Beavers pulled down 34 boards, with 13 assists, 14 turnovers, six steals and two blocks. Earlham was led in scoring by Kirk Douglas and Jack O'Flaherty who scored 24 and 21, respectively. Earlham hit 21-for-48 (43.8 percent) from the field, going only 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) from behind the arc while shooting a respectable 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) from the stripe. Earlham finished with 27 rebounds, six assists, 14 turnovers, eight blocks and four steals.
The Beavers wrap up their 2013-14 season when Transylvania comes to town on Saturday, Feb. 22. The men's Senior Day contest with the Pioneers is slated for 4 p.m. in the Sommer Center.