2015-16 Men's Basketball
Hanover 80, Bluffton 67
February 20, 2016
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University men’s basketball team took on the Hanover College Panthers in their final game of the 2015-16 season. Things didn’t end the way they started on Saturday as the home team used a 52-26 second-half advantage to erase a 41-28 half-time deficit. The Beavers dropped an 80-67 decision to finish the season with an overall record of 12-13 and 7-11 in the HCAC. The Panthers improved to 14-11 and 12-6 in conference play and they enter the HCAC Tournament as the #3 seed.
The Beavers jumped out to a quick start as they took a 10-4 lead after a layup by senior THAYNE RECKER (Arlington). Eleven straight points from BILLY TAFLINGER (Lima/Central Catholic) put the visiting team up, 23-16, at the 9:10 mark. A chip shot by BLAKE GREEN (Delta) extended Bluffton’s lead to double digits as they went up 30-20 with 6:34 left. With 2:09 remaining, AUSTIN ROHDE (Shelby) drilled a jumper and knocked down a pair of free throws as the Beavers took a 38-24 lead. Taflinger dialed long distance with 48 seconds left and Bluffton went into the break up by a 41-28 count.
Hanover caught fire coming out of half-time, going on a 14-2 run over the first five
minutes to cut the visitor lead to one, 43-42. Bluffton was able to
pull out to a four-point spread, 49-45, after a jumper by Rohde and a layup by JARED WENTLING (Carey). The Panthers scored seven straight after tying the score at 49 to jump out to a 56-49 cushion with 8:47 left in regulation. At the 8:00 minute mark, Rohde split a pair of free throws and Wentling hit a jumper to cut Hanover’s margin to 56-52. A 13-4 jag by the home team put them up 69-56 with 4:13 remaining. With just under three minutes left, Taflinger hit another one from downtown and then converted an old-fashioned three-point play to pull the Beavers within single digits, 72-64. Bluffton was unable to narrow the gap as Hanover pulled away for the 80-67 win.
Taflinger exploded for a season-high 31 points on a red-hot 11-of-19 from the field, including a blistering 4-of-5 from distance. He also pulled down four rebounds and dished out two assists. Rohde and Recker checked in with 12 and 11 counters, respectively. Recker was just one rebound shy of a double-double.
The Beavers hit 26-of-52 (50 percent) from the field, but just 10-of-25 (40 percent) after the break. Hanover knocked down 18-of-30 (60 percent) in the second stanza to make the Panthers 30-of-56 (53.6 percent) for the game. The home team pulled down two more rebounds (29-27) and the Beavers turned it over four more times (10-6).
Bluffton saw five seniors play their final game as Blake Green (Delta), Mitchel Huffman (Jeromesville/Hillsdale), Aaron Montgomery (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville), Thayne Recker and Billy Taflinger all contributed during the 2015-16 season finale at Hanover. Thanks to all of the seniors and their families for allowing us to be a part of their time at Bluffton!