2013-14 Men's Basketball
Franklin 92, Bluffton 82
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
December 7, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men welcomed Franklin College to the Sommer Center on Saturday, Dec. 7, looking to improve on a 1-0 conference mark. The Grizzlies, led by Bailey Howard's 45 points, had other plans as they outlasted a persistent Beaver squad to take a 92-82 victory home to Indiana.
The Beavers got out to an early 4-0 lead after a jumper from junior Brock Homier (Continental) and a layup by senior Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Regal) on back-to-back possessions. The Grizzlies responded with a 7-0 run after Terry Sargent hit a layup, Dion Smith converted a jumper, and Howard hit his first three of the game to give the visitors a 7-4 lead at the 17:19 mark.
The Howard three would prove to result in the only lead change of the afternoon. However, the Beavers kept the game close, only allowing the Grizzlies to stretch the lead to as many as eight points in the first half. After another Howard triple, one of his seven of the game, extended the lead to eight with 5:38 to play in the half, Will Pope (Sommerville/Preble Shawnee) tipped in a Jordan Turner (Swanton/Delta) miss to cut the lead to six. Kinn followed that with a putback off a Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) miss on the next Beaver possession which trimmed the lead to four.
After a few more Howard buckets, Ebbeskotte hit a three and Pope drained two free throws to pull the Beavers within one. Franklin scored the last points of the half, though, as Brett McCory connected on two foul shots to send the Griz into the locker room up by three, 50-47, thanks to 31 points from Howard on 11-of-13 shooting from the field.
Franklin's Smith scored the first four points of the second half, helping his team out to a seven-point lead. Those points sparked a 12-2 Frankin run that put the visitors up 61-49 with 16:40 remaining in the game. Bluffton responded with 10-0 jag, starting with a Pope layup at the 16:23 mark and ending with a Kinn chip shot with 13:39 to play, bringing the Beavers to within one point of the lead. However, Trae Washington ended the comeback attempt with a three-pointer and Franklin never looked back, extending the lead to as many as 13 points before the final horn rang with the visitors on top, 92-82.
Pope, Thayne Recker (Arlington) and Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) each finished with 17 points. Pope added 14 rebounds for his eighth career double-double. The 14 boards gives Will an even 500 for his career, and he is now less than 100 points away from 1,000 as a Beaver. Taflinger added three rebounds and four assists and Recker pulled down six rebounds. Kinn finished with 15 points and eight boards while Ebbeskotte tallied nine points and a team-high five assists, Trey Elchert (Jackson Center) finished with three points, while Matt Wiesenborn (Bowling Green/Otsego) and Homier rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.
The Beavers (3-4, 1-1) made 29-of-68 (42 percent) from the field, including a 2-of-11 performance from behind the arc. They struggled at the free-throw line, converting just 22-of-36 from the charity stripe. The home team outrebounded the Grizzlies (40-26) and committed four fewer turnovers (13-9).
The Bluffton University men will have Wednesday night off due to finals this week before heading to Anderson on Saturday, Dec. 14, for the second game of a women's and men's doubleheader with the Ravens. The men are scheduled to tip at 4 p.m. following the women's contest.