2015-16 Men's Basketball
Hiram 91, Bluffton 71
December 30, 2015
By: Owen Lugibihl, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Hiram College was too much for Bluffton as the Terriers rolled to a convincing 91-71 victory in the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament championship game on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. The Beavers slipped to 7-3 on the season, while Hiram upped its mark to 8-2. It was a rematch of the 2014 final which Bluffton won 64-59.
The Beavers jumped on top with a three-ball by freshman Jared Wentling (Carey), but the Terriers went on a 17-5 run over the next seven minutes, pushing their lead to nine points (17-8). The two teams traded counters throughout the next five minutes, with senior Thayne Recker (Arlington) chipping in six points, but the Terriers kept control with a seven-point lead (26-19) at the 8:14 mark of the first stanza. The visitors pushed their lead to double digits by the end of the first half, 49-32, with the help of 11 points off Bluffton turnovers.
Bluffton was unable to make a dent in the Hiram advantage after the break as Hiram opened its largest lead of the game (74-47) with 10:27 to play. The Terriers continued to score quickly in transition, wrapping up the title tilt with a 91-71 victory over the tournament hosts.
Senior Thayne Recker paced the Beavers with 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field. He pulled down a team-best seven boards. Also in double figures was Austin Rohde (Shelby) with 11 counters. Rohde dished out four assists and finished with three boards. Recker and Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) were both named to the McDonald's All-Tournament Team.
Hiram hit 34-of-63 from the field for 54.0 percent while limiting Bluffton to 37.7 percent from the field (23-of-61). The Terriers also dominated from outside the arc, knocking down 10-of-21 (47.6 percent), compared to just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) for the Beavers. The home team was efficient at the line, converting 22-of-29 for 75.9 percent. Bluffton turned it over one more time than the Terriers (10-9).
The consolation title went to Illinois College thanks to an 80-69 victory over Washington and Jefferson in the noon contest. Named to the All-Tournament Team were: Mitchell Patterson (Illinois), Brian Graytok (Washington & Jefferson), J.J. Woodson (Hiram) and Kelvin Jones the MVP (Hiram).
The Bluffton men are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 2, when they travel to Franklin for a Heartland Conference matchup with the Grizzlies. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. following the women's contest.