2017-18 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 71, Manchester 66
January 17, 2018
By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men tipped off in the Sommer Center against the Manchester Spartans on a cold Wednesday, Jan. 17. The Beavers pulled off a 71-66 win over the Spartans, improving to 8-8 overall (5-4 HCAC) with their third straight victory, while the visitors fell to 2-14 on the season (0-9 HCAC).
After controlling the tip, Aaron Rich (Greenville) put up the first bucket of the evening just 27 seconds in. The Spartans answered back with a jumper of their own by Enis Becirevic. A 7-0 run put the home team up 16-10 early in the first half.
Manchester didn’t back off as they continued to push the tempo, tying the game at 22 with just under 10 minutes to play in the opening stanza. A burst capped off with a triple by Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) put the Beavers up 32-25. A Bluffton turnover and old-fashioned three-point play by the Spartans made it 34-32 at the break as Manchester scored the final five points of the half.
Rich came out on fire in the second half, scoring the first eight points for the Beavers. Manchester didn’t let up as they tied the score up at 44. A 6-0 run and a shot from behind the arc by Kevin Christie (Miamisburg/Bishop Fenwick) put Bluffton up 61-53 with 8:03 left in regulation.
It was a close second half as the score was tied seven times and there were four lead changes. As time ticked away, a deuce and block by Justis Dowdy (Van Wert/Lincolnview) along with four freebies by Andrew Hunter sealed the victory for the Beavers.
Leading the home team was Kevin Christie who followed up his career-high 27 at Rose on Saturday with 25 points in the victory. He also added six assists and two steals. Also in double digits were senior captain Andrew Hunter (Arlington) and Aaron Rich with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Dowdy nearly doubled his career best with five dimes!
Bluffton went 27-for-52 (51.9 percent) from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from deep while holding Manchester to 23-of-51 (45.1 percent) from the field and 0-of-11 on triples. The Beavers were 12-for-15 (80 percent) at the line, while the Spartans converted 20-of-29 (69 percent).
The Beavers head south on Saturday, Jan. 20, for a double-header against Transylvania University. Tip-off for the women’s game is slated for 2 PM with the men to follow at 4 PM in Lexington, Ky. Go Beavers!