2016-17 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 77, Franklin 64
January 30, 2017
By: Jared Sleutz, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - On the banks of the Riley, Bluffton welcomed visiting Franklin College for a rare Monday night clash in the Sommer Center. Bluffton improved to 4-8 in the HCAC (11-8 overall) while the Grizzlies fell to 3-9 in the HCAC (6-13 overall) following the 77-64 Beaver victory.
Bluffton rode a hot-shooting effort from Austin Rohde (Shelby) to a 37-30 lead at the break. The senior standout drilled his first four triples and finished the opening stanza with 16 big markers. Franklin came out quickly in the second period and forced eight turnovers in a span of just six minutes. The Grizzlies used a 19-2 spurt to take a 49-41 lead with 13:30 to play in the game.
An Andrew Hunter (Arlington) triple followed by two JUSTIS DOWDY (Van Wert/Lincolnview) tip-ins in a span of three seconds, including one following his own miss at the charity stripe, pulled the Beavers within three points. Another Dowdy rebound led to a Rohde mid-range jumper which made the score 51-50 in favor of the Griz.
With the crowd getting behind Bluffton, junior KEVIN CHRISTIE (Miamisburg/Bishop Fenwick) drained a huge three with eight minutes left, knotting the score at 53 all. The Beavers continued to roll, using a dominating 30-11 jag over a 12-minute span to go up 71-60 en route to the 77-64 victory. It capped off a sweep of Franklin, just nine days after a Trey Elchert buzzer beater gave the Beavers an 86-84 win at the Spurlock Center, and it also marked Bluffton's sixth straight win over the Grizzlies.
Rohde led the home team with 30 counters, three points shy of his career-high 33 points, thanks to a red-hot 4-of-5 from beyond the arch and 9-for-16 from the floor. Second in command was Kevin Christie with 15 points, eight assists, and a 2-of-4 night from downtown. Christie established new career highs in both points and assists against the Grizzlies. TREY ELCHERT (Jackson Center) chipped in with nine points and a career-high eight boards while Dowdy's six points and seven rebounds rounded out the top efforts for Bluffton.
Bluffton hit 9-of-18 from distance (50 percent) while the visiting Grizzlies struggled to a 3-of-15 (20 percent) evening from downtown. The Beavers crushed the Grizzlies on the rebounding battle, 44-25. Bluffton struggled to find the handles as the home team turned the ball over 19 times while Franklin coughed it up just 10 times. The home team connected on 24-of-55 from the field (43.6 percent), while the Grizzlies went 25-for-59 (42.4 percent).
Bluffton hits the road for another HCAC matchup against Manchester University on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The Spartans and Bluffton are tied for sixth at 4-8 in the HCAC (6-13 overall). Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in North Manchester, Ind.