2013-14 Men's Basketball
Goshen 73, Bluffton 71
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
November 23, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers welcomed Goshen College to the Sommer Center on Saturday, Nov. 23, for the second home contest of the season. A strong first half found the Beavers up 42-31 at the break, but the visiting Maple Leafs outscored the Beavers 42-29 in the second period, capped by a last-second jumper, to top the hosts 73-71. The loss dropped the Beavers to 2-2 on the season.
The Maple Leafs opened the game quickly with help from junior Stefon Luckey, taking a 9-5 lead at the 17:16 mark of the first half after the shifty point guard converted a hoop and harm for his fifth point of the game. However, Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) found fellow senior Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Regal) under the basket for two, sparking an 8-0 run that put the Beavers up 13-9 at the 14:16 mark.
Two baskets from Goshen tied the game at 13 before Bluffton's inside game sent the Beavers on a 8-2 run, sparked by a Pope layup, giving the Beavers a 21-15 lead with a little over 10 minutes to play in the half.
The Maple Leafs answered with a quick 5-0 run which gave them a 22-21 lead with nine minutes remaining, but more solid inside play from the Beavers helped the home team close the half on a 21-9 jag, giving them a comfortable 42-31 edge at halftime.
In order to stop the beating inside, the Maple Leafs started the second half by crowding the key in a 2-3 zone, making it difficult for the Beavers to get the ball down low. As a result, the Beavers got some open looks on the wing but struggled to capitalize as they shot 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc and only 11-for-29 (37.9 percent) overall from the field in the final stanza.
The lack of offense for the Beavers gave Goshen the green light to get back into the game. After a Kinn layin made the score 46-33 at the 17:19 mark, Goshen went on a 7-0 run to cut the Beaver lead to just six with 15:33 remaining. The only two made three-pointers of the second half, one from Matt Weisenborn (Bowling Green/Otsego) and one from Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson), as well as another chip shot from Pope helped push the lead to 10 with 12:11 left in the game, but a 12-0 spurt gave the visitors a 56-54 advantage with 8:45 to play.
The remainder of the half saw two lead changes and six ties. The Beavers tied the score at 71 when Ebbeskotte found the bottom of the net on a jumper from the elbow with 18 seconds left, but the Maple Leafs, holding out for the last shot of the game, put the ball in the hot hands of Luckey who pulled up from 10 feet and drained a jumper going away from the basket with just one second on the clock to give the visitors a 73-71 victory.
Pope finished the day as Bluffton's leading scorer, tallying 21 points while converting 9-of-13 shots from the field and 3-of-4 free throws. Pope also led in the rebounding category with four offensive and four defensive boards for eight total.
Ebbeskotte chipped in with 12 points after shooting 5-of-8 from the field (2-of-3 from behind the arc), and he doled out a game-high eight assists. Sophomore Thayne Recker (Arlington) finished with 11 points and four rebounds, while Kinn and Nate Chambers (Miamisburg) added 10 points and four rebounds each. Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) and Weisenborn rounded out the scoring column with four and three points, respectively.
The Beavers ended the day shooting 50 percent (30-of-50) from the field, including a 3-of-15 clip from behind the arc. They added eight free throws in 12 attempts. Bluffton won the rebounding category (29-25), and also committed three fewer turnovers (12-9) than the Maple Leafs.
Bluffton will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 30, following a short break for Thanksgiving. The Beavers travel to play Kalamazoo College, a MIAA school that recently defeated a pair of Heartland Conference foes, Manchester University and Earlham College. The tip is slated for 3 p.m. Bluffton will kick off HCAC action on Wednesday, Dec. 4, when they welcome the Earlham College Quakers for a 7:30 p.m. start.