2014-15 Men's Basketball
#1 Wisconsin-Whitewater 67, Bluffton 46
November 21, 2014
NAPERVILLE, Ill. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team was looking to slay a giant, #1 ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater, when the Beavers traveled to North Central College for game one of the Chicago Marriott Naperville Tip-Off Tournament on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. The Beavers were within striking distance, down 51-44, with less than five minutes to play before the Warhawks found their stroke, pulling away for a hard-fought 67-46 victory.
The NCAA Division 3 defending national champion Warhawks went up 6-0 before freshman Andrew Finley (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills) got to the rack for Bluffton's first basket at the 16:46 mark of the opening stanza. Big men Thayne Recker (Arlington) and Michael Blunk (Arlington) hit from in close as Bluffton pulled within 11-6 less than three minutes later.
Recker sandwiched four points around an Austin Rohde (Shelby) steal and deuce, making the score 14-12 midway through the period. Eight straight points for Whitewater made it a 10-point game, but four points from Recker and a Zach Rumbaugh (Lima/Senior) triple gave the Beavers new life. A pair of Recker chip shots kept Bluffton in the game as the Warhawks scored 12 of the final 16 points in period one for a 37-23 lead at the break.
The Bluffton defense did its part to keep Whitewater from opening it up and Recker got free underneath before Finley converted a pair of layins which made the score 42-34 at the 14:23 mark. Following a Blake Green (Delta) jumper, senior captain Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) added his first deuce to keep it an eight-point spread.
Junior Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) made the score 51-44 when he converted at the 4:51 mark, however, the Beavers managed just a Blunk hoop with 10 seconds to play as Wisconsin-Whitewater outscored Bluffton 16-2 down the stretch for a 67-46 victory.
Recker put up his second double-double in as many games, leading all scorers with 25 points. He pulled down 11 rebounds while hitting 10-of-20 from the field. Finley was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field for six points and Blunk hit both of his shots for four points.
Bluffton hit 20-of-52 (38.5 percent) from field and just 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) from distance, compared to Whitewater's slick 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) on triples. The Beavers turned it over six more times (16-10) and only got to the line six times, hitting four free throws. The Warhawks made their money at the stripe, going 17-of-26 (65.4 percent).
The Beavers will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 22, when they take on host North Central at 8:30 p.m. Bluffton returns to the Sommer Center for a Thanksgiving Eve battle with Ohio Midwestern at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26.