2016-17 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 68, Kalamazoo 54
November 30, 2016
By: Jared Sleutz, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team equaled its best start since 2011-12 when the Beavers hounded Kalamazoo College in a 68-54 victory on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Kalamazoo slipped to 2-3 on the season, while the Beavers stayed perfect at 5-0 heading into Heartland Conference action at Transylvania on Saturday.
Scores by Kalamazoo on its first five trips down the floor put the visitors up 11-2 less than four minutes into the game before a Jared Wentling (Carey) deuce helped Bluffton turn the tide. A pair of Martin Maksvytis (Dayton/Franklin-Monroe) free throws followed by a Trey Elchert (Jackson Center) pulled the Beavers within two at 11-9.
Bluffton continued to pressure the Hornets while taking advantage of its quickness at the other end. The Beavers finished the half shooting a red-hot 63.6 percent from the floor (14-of-22). A sequence of three-pointers from Kevin Christie (Miamisburg/Bishop Fenwick), Austin Rohde (Shelby) and Andrew Hunter (Arlington) pushed the spread to 29:19 at the 5:07 mark before Rohde sliced to the rack for three buckets in the final 2:23 as the Beavers finished the half on a 37-16 jag for a 39-27 spread at the break.
Martin Maksvytis got in the trifecta action when his deep ball pushed the lead to 46:33 with 16:23 to play. When he dialed long distance at the 11:30 mark, Maksvytis gave the Beavers a 51-40 advantage. With the Bluffton defense holding Kalamazoo to four points over a 10-minute span, the Beavers opened a 63-44 cushion thanks to consecutive Rohde deuces in the paint. Kalamazoo scored the final five points, but it was too little, too late as the home team claimed a 68-54 victory for a 5-0 start to the season.
Austin Rohde was a white-hot 10-of-13 for a game-high 24 points. Jared Wentling just missed out on the double-double with 15 points and nine boards. Kevin Christie hit all six of his freebies for nine points, while Martin Maksvytis was 2-of-2 from deep for eight points. Trey Elchert handed out a career-high tying eight dimes and came up with three steals for the victors.
The Beavers were a highly-efficient 23-of-43 (53.5 percent) from the field, including 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) from distance. Kalamazoo managed just 20-of-54 (37.0 percent) on field goals. The Hornets pulled down four more rebounds (30-26), but the Beavers dished out five more assists (19-14). Both teams turned it over 14 times and picked up eight steals.
Bluffton kicks it into high gear on Saturday, Dec. 3, when the Beavers travel to Lexington, Ky., for the Heartland Conference opener against Transylvania. The HCAC battle is slated for 4 p.m. following the women's contest with the Pioneers.