2017-18 Men's Basketball
Manchester 85, Bluffton 81
February 14, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton University men’s basketball squad hit the road to face off against the Manchester University Spartans for its last road contest of the 2017-18 regular season. After a back-and-forth first half, the Spartans were able to take advantage of a second half spurt for an 85-81 victory which dropped Bluffton to 10-14 overall and 7-10 in the HCAC conference.
Manchester opened the game with an 8-4 edge before a layup by AARON RICH (Greenville) and a triple from ANDREW HUNTER (Arlington) put the Beavers up 9-8 with 17:51 left in the half. It remained a one-possession ballgame until a three-point play by the Spartans JUSTIN LUKENS put the home team up 41-37 with 57 seconds remaining in the stanza. After a pair of KEVIN CHRISTIE (Dayton/Bishop Fenwick) free throws and a Manchester layup, the teams went into the break with the Beavers trailing by a slim 43-39 margin.
The Spartans came out with a 7-2 run to take a 50-41 lead less than two minutes into period two. With 6:27 left an Andrew Hunter trifecta courtesy of a Kevin Christie dish made the score 68-62. Trailing 73-62, a 7-0 jag by the Beavers cut the gap to four points with less than four minutes left in regulation. A pair of free throws by BRODY KIRBY made it 81-73 with 1:04 left on the clock. Kevin Christie drilled a three at buzzer as Manchester evened the season series with its 85-81 victory.
Leading the Beavers was Kevin Christie who dropped in 26 points (6-of-6 FT) to go along with five assists. Andrew Hunter added 14 that included four threes, while ANDREW RENNER (Cairo/Bath) also scored 14 and snagged seven boards.
Bluffton connected on 28-of-61 shots for 45.9 percent, while Manchester went 27-of-56 (48.2 percent). The Beavers hit one more three than the Spartans (6-5) and won the battle of the boards (34-30). Bluffton committed two more turnovers than the home team (12-10). A 20-14 advantage from the reserves helped Manchester secure the win.
The Beavers return home for their final game of the regular season when they welcome Franklin College on Saturday, Feb. 17 with a tipoff set for 4 p.m. in what is effectively the start of the Heartland Conference tournament as the winner will claim the final berth in the HCAC tourney! It will also be Senior Day as Bluffton celebrates the final game on Copeland Court for Kevin Christie, Andrew Hunter, THAD PHILLIPS (South Bend, IN/Riley) and AUSTIN BUCHHOLZ (Holgate). Come out and support your seniors and your Beavers!