2013-14 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 81, North Park 54
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
December 30, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Capping off a day that was marred with five technical fouls and two ejections, the Bluffton University men's basketball team followed the women's lead in claiming the 2013 McDonald's and Monsanto Holiday Tournament championship with a convincing 81-54 shellacking of North Park University (Chicago, Ill.) on Monday, Dec. 30. It marked the first year that the men and women have teamed up to host for the holidays and it was a rousing success as both squads dominated the competition, combining to go 4-0 over the three-day marathon session in a frenzied Sommer Center.
For the men, it marked the 16th McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament that the Beavers have hosted and the second since moving to the Sommer Center. The Monday afternoon victory assured Bluffton of its eighth McDonald's championship in the past 10 seasons.
The Vikings kept the game close until a Jordan Turner (Swanton/Delta) layup at the 14:17 mark sparked a 15-2 Bluffton jag that put the Beavers up 25-10 with 9:13 remaining in the opening half. North Park trimmed the gap to nine after an Aaron Weaver chip shot at the 4:29 mark, but two free throws from Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) started an 8-0 run that propelled the Beavers to a 17-point (44-27) halftime lead.
North Park tried to make a game of it early in the second stanza when 6-6 freshman post Joe Biko connected on a three-pointer to reduce the gap to 14 points. Then, following two more Ebbeskotte freebies, North Park's Juwan Henry converted a hoop-and-harm to make it a 13-point game, but that was as close as the Vikings would get as the Beavers used a combination of great rebounding and solid defense to go up by as many as 34 points before ultimately ending the game with an 81-54 victory in North Park Head Coach Tom Slyder's first trip to the Sommer Center after departing Anderson following the 2011-12 campaign.
For the second straight day, all 16 Beavers in uniform saw the floor. Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel), who was named the tournament MVP, just missed out on a double-double, leading Bluffton with a career-high 29 points to go along with eight rebounds. He was unstoppable in the key, going 12-of-15 from the field and 5-of-6 at the stripe. Sophomore Thayne Recker (Arlington) also pounded the Vikings inside, posting his fourth career double-double with 14 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds in 22 minutes of action on his way to being named to the all-tournament team. He was 10-for-13 at the foul line. Ryan Ebbeskotte took advantage of North Park's lack of disciple, going 8-of-8 at the free throw line for 13 total points as the Vikings racked up three technical fouls. Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.
The home team hit 26-of-49 from the field (53.1 percent) while limiting North Park to just 21-of-62 (33.9 percent) shooting. Bluffton also dominated from the foul line, connecting on 26-of-33 (78.8 percent). The Beavers pulled down 13 more boards (41-28), but turned it over four more times (15-11).
Bluffton will return to action this Saturday, Jan. 4, when the Beavers travel to Rose-Hulman. The Heartland Conference contest is slated for 3 p.m. following the women's clash in Terre Haute, Ind.