2014-15 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 59, Earlham 46
December 3, 2014
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team used a stifling defense to shut down host Earlham College 59-46 in the Heartland Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. Bluffton improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the HCAC, while Earlham stayed winless at 0-5 and 0-1 in the conference.
A jumper by BILLY TAFLINGER (Lima/Central Catholic) with 7:07 left in the first period gave the Beavers a four-point lead (22-18). Freshman ANDREW FINLEY (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills) followed it up with a hoop of his own at the 6:18 mark to give Bluffton a 24-18 advantage. An Elijah Wilson-Thomas layin and three Quaker free throws pulled Earlham within 26-23 at the break
JOSH WOODRICH (Navarre/Central Christian) helped the Beavers come out strong after knocking down a three at the 18:09 mark to put the visitors up 29-25. Woodrich took a feed from THANE RECKER (Arlington) and nailed another trifecta to give Bluffton a seven-point lead, 34-27, with 15:23 left. Bluffton pushed the spread to 38-27 after a hoop and harm by Finley with 13:42 on the clock.
The Quakers were able to cut the deficit to seven, but a layup by BLAKE GREEN (Delta) at the 4:43 mark put the Beavers up nine. Green followed that up with a couple of makes from the stripe with 4:09 left to put Bluffton up 51-40. Earlham answered back with a three with 3:00 remaining, but Bluffton forced the Quakers to miss their next three shots. Free throws by RYAN EBBESKOTTE (Delphos/Jefferson) and Taflinger in the final 1:05 helped secure the 59-46 win over Earlham.
Leading the way for the Beavers was Taflinger who tallied 15 points on a perfect 6-of-6 night from the charity stripe. Also contributing for Bluffton was Finley (5-of-6 field goals) who chipped in with a career-best 12 markers and Woodrich (3-of-3 triples) who added 11. Recker pulled down a game-high 12 boards and he equaled his career-high with five assists.
The Beavers shot the ball extremely well, going 20-of-38 (52.6 percent) for the game, while only allowing the Quakers to shoot 33.3 percent (16-of-48) from the floor. Earlham had the slight edge in rebounding, 28-25. The Beavers moved the ball efficiently and had assists on 15 of their 20 baskets.
Bluffton will look to continue its winning ways when the Beavers travel to Franklin College on Saturday, Dec. 6. Tip-off with the Grizzlies is slated for 4 p.m.