2015-16 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 80, Earlham 70
February 17, 2016
By: Josh Burkholder, sports information assistant
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Bluffton University men’s basketball team took to the road for a meeting with the Earlham College Quakers on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. Backed by a career-high 32 points from junior guard AUSTIN ROHDE (Shelby), the Beavers came out victorious by a score of 80-70. The win pushed Bluffton to 12-12 for the season (7-10 HCAC), while Earlham dropped to 2-22 overall (1-16 HCAC).
After a game-opening 3-pointer by Rohde, the Beavers struggled on the offensive end early in the contest, falling behind by double digits, 19-9, just over six minutes in. A quick 10-2 spurt by Bluffton, fueled by two triples from freshman JARED WENTLING (Carey), pulled the visitors within two at the 11:24 mark.
Earlham then expanded their lead again, this time going up by 12 with 5:41 left in the opening period. However, Bluffton would close the half with a layup from THAYNE RECKER (Arlington), another Rohde triple and a buzzer-beating layup by Wentling. At the break Earlham led 45-40, due in large part to 19 first-half points from TAYLEN ALEXANDER.
The Beavers carried their momentum over to the second half, using three jumpers from Recker and a Rohde steal-layup combo to cut the Quaker lead to one. On their next possession, Bluffton took the lead for the first time, 52-51, at the 14:13 mark with a layup by BILLY TAFLINGER (Lima/Central Catholic), the first of eight straight Beaver tallies he recorded.
The Quakers stayed within striking distance until the clock moved under five minutes, when Bluffton opened a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, 76-64. Down the stretch, the Beavers would capitalize on good free-throw shooting, as 10 of their last 12 points came from the charity stripe. After Wentling converted a pair with 27 seconds left, the game ended with a final score of 80-70.
Rohde’s career-best 32, edging his previous mark of 29, led the Beavers in scoring thanks to 9-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-7 from deep and 10-for-13 from the free-throw line. Recker added yet another double-double, scoring 17 and grabbing 10 boards. He also surpassed 1,600 career points, finishing the night with 1,602 (5th all-time) with one game to play! Wentling finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, and Taflinger rounded out the Beaver effort with 13 tallies and five assists. For the Quakers, Alexander also notched a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Bluffton shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field, including 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from beyond the arc. Earlham shot 60.7 percent (17-of-28) in the first half, but the Quakers lost their touch in the second, dropping the percentage to 45 (27-of-60), along with 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from the 3-point line. Earlham outrebounded Bluffton, 36 to 29, but doubled the Beavers in turnovers (10-5). That led to 15 points off turnovers for Bluffton, besting the Earlham mark by 10.
The Beavers end their 2015-16 season when they travel to Hanover, Ind. on Saturday, Feb. 20, to take on the Hanover College Panthers. Bluffton's finale is set to tip at 4 p.m. following the women’s contest. Thanks for all of your support during this season!