2015-16 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 91, Kalamazoo 70
December 2, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team showed no signs of rust following an 11-day break since it played at Buffalo, NY on November 21. An 18-7 run late in the first half powered the Beavers to a 91-70 victory at Kalamazoo College on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. Bluffton improved to 3-1 on the season, while the Hornets slipped to 0-3 after the loss.
It was a close battle early on as the Hornets knocked down a game-opening three and only trailed 9-7 four minutes in. Thayne Recker (Arlington) began making his impact with an old-fashioned three-point play and Jared Wentling (Carey) added a bucket to push the lead to seven. After a deuce from K-Zoo, Austin Terrill (Richwood/North Union) knocked down a triple, which paired with two freebies from Recker got the Bluffton lead to 19-9 at the 14:12 mark. The Hornets stayed within striking range, scoring the next six points to cut the deficit to four (19-15).
It was still a four-point game at the 8:12 mark when the Beavers made a big push to put the game out of reach. Following two Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) free throws, Wentling hit a jumper and Terrill added two more freebies. Back-to-back triples by Austin Rohde (Shelby) and Taflinger wrapped up a 12-0 spurt, giving the Beavers a 35-19 advantage with 4:35 left in the half. The teams battled back-and-forth before a Kalamazoo jumper at the buzzer cut it to 12 at the break.
The visitors came out firing on all cylinders in the second stanza, scoring the first eight tallies and 14 of the first 17 to put the game away. It was ignited with consecutive treys from Rohde and Trey Elchert (Jackson Center) before a Wentling jumper stretched the lead to 20. After a hoop-and-harm by the Hornets, Rohde added another triple and a conventional three-point play to make it a 60-37 game just 2:05 into the final stanza. Bluffton pushed the lead as high as 28 on a Recker deuce at the 14:40 mark before the Hornets cut it to a 91-70 final tally.
The visitors were a red-hot 33-of-54 from the field for 61.1 percent, including 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from deep. Bluffton also took advantage at the line, going 18-of-22 for 81.8 percent. The Beavers ripped down seven more boards (34-27) and handed out 10 more assists (23-13). Kalamazoo struggled on triples, converting just 2-of-13 for 15.4 percent.
Junior Austin Rohde and senior Thayne Recker manhandled the Hornets with 29 points apiece and just eight missed shots between the two of them. Rohde scalded the nets with 11-of-15 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from distance. The 29 points were a career high, while four triples equaled his career-best from beyond the arc. Recker was just as efficient, knocking down 12-of-16 from the field to go along with 10 boards and five dimes for his first double-double of the season. Jared Wentling added 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while Billy Taflinger chipped in nine markers and four assists. Trey Elchert dished out a career-best seven assists in the victory.
Bluffton jumps into Heartland Conference action with the first of six straight home games on Saturday, Dec. 5. The Beavers welcome Transylvania as part of a doubleheader with the women. Game one is slated for 2 p.m. with the men to follow at approximately 4 p.m. in the Sommer Center.