2014-15 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 98, Anderson 93 (OT)
February 27, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University men headed to Defiance College for the opening round of the HCAC Tournament, winning a thriller over Anderson University, 98-93, in overtime on Friday, Feb. 27. The Beavers move into the conference semifinal, where they will take on #2-seeded Mount St Joseph on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Beavers improved to 15-11 while the Ravens finished their year at 13-13. It was a night of revenge for Coach Neal as Anderson had knocked Bluffton out of the Heartland Conference tournament the last three times the Beavers advanced to post-season play!
With the Ravens leading 11-4 at the first media timeout, Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) racked up eight straight Beaver markers to make it a one-point game at the 13:58 mark. The Ravens answered with 16 of the next 20, pushing the lead to 13 points at 29-16 with 7:05 left in the half. The Beavers pulled within six on two occasions in the half before the Ravens hit the locker room with a 42-33 advantage.
Thayne Recker (Arlington) started slowly but got it going in the second period, scoring 10 of Bluffton’s first 12 points which cut the Anderson lead to 51-46 at the 15:11 mark. Anderson responded, going up by 11 points at the 11:37 mark. With the score 64-54 Bluffton put together an 18-5 jag , capped by a triple from freshman Joshua Woodrich (Navarre/Central Christian) for a 72-69 Bluffton lead. The teams continued to battle back and forth, tying the score three more times before a Taflinger deuce made it 79-77 with just under two minutes to play. Anderson's Nathan Gross freed himself with 1.9 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
The extra period started with a bucket from Recker. After an Anderson freebie, Andrew Finley (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills) would hit back-to-back triples for Bluffton, sandwiched around a three from the Ravens, giving the six-seed a four-point advantage. A bucket from Recker pushed the spread to eight with 1:29 left. Anderson cut it to three on a deep ball from Nathaniel Acree with just 17 ticks left, but Austin Rohde (Shelby) iced it with a couple freebies to nail down the win! The Beavers shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-3 from deep in the overtime period as well.
The Beavers finished the night 37-of-72 from the floor (51.4 percent) and 10-of-28 (35.7 percent) from deep. Bluffton was slightly below average at 70 percent (14-of-20) from the charity stripe. The Ravens shot 35-of-67 (52.2 percent), including 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from three, but Anderson was just 11-of-20 (55 percent) at the line. The Beavers outrebounded the Ravens, 38-36, while committing five fewer turnovers (11-6).
Bluffton was led by junior center Thayne Recker with his 30 points and 13 boards, 24 of his counters coming in the second half. The Beavers also benefitted from a huge day by Billy Taflinger with his season-high 28 points. He also stuffed the stat sheet with five boards and five assists for Bluffton. Freshman Andrew Finley finished with a career-high 20, including seven in the extra frame. Bluffton's Mr. Clutch doled out a team-best seven dimes. Josh Woodrich added 10 points in the win. Anderson was led by Nathaniel Acree with his 38 points, just one point shy of tying the HCAC Tournament record for points in a game. He also hit eight threes, tying the HCAC Tournament game record.