2015-16 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 74, Franklin 68
January 2, 2016
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
Franklin, Ind. - The Bluffton University men outscored Franklin College 36-29 in the second half en route to a 74-68 win over the Grizzlies on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. It helped the Beavers cap their first-ever women's and men's road sweep of the Griz following a thrilling 69-68 Bluffton victory in the lidlifter. Bluffton improved to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the Heartland Conference, while Franklin dipped to 1-10 on the season and 1-3 in the HCAC. Bluffton is one of five teams tied at the top of the HCAC standings with identical 3-1 records.
After Bluffton jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead in the opening two minutes, the momentum swung back in the Grizzlies favor thanks to an 18-5 run which put Franklin in front, 21-13, at the 10:26 mark. Bluffton fought back to make it a three-point game at the 8:12 mark on a triple from Martin Maksvytis (Dayton/Franklin-Monroe), but the home team would quickly get the lead back to nine points, 34-25, with 3:57 until half.
With 2:00 remaining in the half Bluffton was within six points at 37-31, at which point the Beavers scored seven of the final nine points, all of them coming from Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic), to make it a 39-38 contest heading to the locker room in a half that saw the Grizzlies shoot a blistering 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Grizzlies would get the lead back to 47-40 in the opening minutes of the half, but the Beavers surged back, this time briefly taking the lead on a layup from Blake Green (Delta) to give Bluffton a 54-52 advantage. Green's deuce wrapped up a 14-5 spurt that included three straight triples from Austin Rohde (Shelby), Trey Elchert (Jackson Center) and Austin Terrill (Richwood/North Union).
It was a back-and-forth battle that included five lead changes in the second half, as well as seven total ties. With Bluffton leading by a point after a basket-and-one from Rohde, the Grizzlies hit two freebies to take a 64-63 lead with 3:55 left. Recker would score four points in the next minute to give his team a three-point advantage before Rohde added a deuce to make it a five-point game. A Taflinger freebie finished off the 7-0 spurt, giving Bluffton a 70-64 lead with 1:29 to go. Franklin answered with four straight points to cut it to two with 39 ticks on the clock before a bucket from Recker put them back up by four. Franklin went down the floor and missed a triple and Taflinger hit two from the charity stripe to give Bluffton the 74-68 win.
Thayne Recker (Arlington) paced the Beavers with 24 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. He also picked up three steals. Junior Austin Rohde dropped in 15 points while pulling down six boards. Billy Taflinger made it three Beavers in double figures with 13 points and four assists.
The Beavers were 26-of-56 from the field for 46.4 percent, including 6-of-14 from outside the arc (42.9 percent. Bluffton struggled at the charity stripe, hitting 16-of-27 (59.3 percent), but Franklin attempted just 10 shots at the line (8-of-10). Both teams pulled down 36 caroms, but Franklin coughed it up four more times (11-7) and the Grizzlies did not have a steal.
Franklin had five in double figures, led by Aaron Mann and Robbie Prather who finished with 15 points apiece. Mann also added nine boards.
Next up for the Beavers is a Wednesday night matchup with Mount St. Joseph in the
Sommer Center. The January 6 contest is slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip.
Come out and support your Beavers!