2017-18 Men's Basketball
Hanover 71, Bluffton 70
January 27, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men’s basketball squad faced off against Hanover College in a thrilling HCAC battle. It would come down to the final seconds as the Panthers scored last to take a 71-70 decision over the Beavers. The loss dropped Bluffton to 8-11 (5-7 HCAC) for the season, while Hanover improved to 15-4 and 10-2 in the Heartland. The Panthers stayed in a first place HCAC tie with Rose-Hulman and Mount St. Joseph.
The visitors used a 9-2 spurt to take a 14-8 lead with 14:13 left in the first. Bluffton answered with a triple from KEVIN CHRISTIE (Dayton/Bishop Fenwick) to cut Hanover’s lead to 25-23 with 6:51 left in the half. A three by Kevin Christie and a layup by DEZMAN BROWN (Elyria) put the Beavers up 32-29 with 2:38 to go. The Panthers would finish the half on a 10-2 run to go into the break leading 39-34.
Bluffton took advantage of a hot start to the second half, tying the game at 43-43 following an AARON RICH (Greenville) triple. The Beavers continued to pour it on with a 9-2 spurt for a 52-45 spread with 13:55 left in the contest.
The Panthers fought back and took a 62-61 lead with just over six minutes to play. With Hanover leading 67-66, JUSTIS DOWDY (Van Wert/Lincolnview) knocked down a pair of free throws to put Bluffton up one with 30 seconds remaining. After a layup by Cam Fails, Kevin Christie got to the rack and was fouled with 6.6 seconds left. Christie hit both around a Hanover timeout to put Bluffton up 70-69. However, to the chagrin of all the Beaver fans in attendance, Fails drove the length of the court and kissed in a layup to give Hanover the 71-70 win just before the buzzer sounded.
Kevin Christie was in control from the start as the senior netted a career high in points and triples as he was a perfect 5-of-5 from distance and scored 32 points on 12-of-17 from the field. Aaron Rich added 13 points and equaled his career best with eight rebounds while Max Glass chipped in a career-high 10 points, going 5-of-6 from the floor.
Bluffton hit 29-of-53 (54.7 percent) from the field, while the Panthers were also an efficient 29-of-54 (53.7 percent) for the contest. The Beavers won the rebounding battle, 31-25, but turned it over two more times, 11-9. The Panther bench would come into play as they out-pointed Bluffton, 22-7.
Next up for the Beavers is a home contest against Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday, Jan. 31, with a tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!