2017-18 Men's Basketball
Spalding 65, Bluffton 63
November 18, 2017
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
ROANOKE, Va. - The Bluffton University men’s basketball team closed out the Roanoke Tip-Off with a contest against the Spalding University Golden Eagles in the consolation finals. It was a tight matchup as the game went back and forth. In the end, the Golden Eagles were able to come out on top in the final minute as Bluffton slipped to 0-2 following the opening weekend.
The Beavers went out to a quick 3-0 start after ANDREW HUNTER (Arlington) knocked down a three. A 10-0 run by Spalding put them up seven at the 16:42 mark of the first half. Trailing 27-13, six straight points from JARED WENTLING (Carey) made it a 10-point game. Bluffton was able to cut the gap to single digits after a layin by JUSTIS DOWDY (Van Wert/Lincolnview). With just under two minutes remaining, back-to-back deuces by ANDREW RENNER (Cairo/Bath) cut the Golden Eagles lead to 31-27. Wentling split a pair of free throws as the Beavers trail by just three, 31-28, entering the break.
Bluffton knotted the game up at 31 after Andrew Renner drilled one from behind the arc. Trailing 43-42, an old fashioned three-point play by KEVIN CHRISTIE (Miamisburg/Bishop Fenwick) put the Beavers up two with 12:56 left in regulation. Spalding took a 53-50 lead with 8:59 to play before two straight layups by Renner gave Bluffton a one-point lead. A layup and a free throw by AARON RICH (Greenville) put the Beavers up four with 6:54 remaining.
Bluffton still led 61-60 with just over a minute remaining until a three-pointer by the Golden Eagles gave Spalding a 63-61 lead. Despite a game-tying layup by Kevin Christie, Spalding would hit a bunny with 19 seconds left in regulation for a 65-63 advantage. Bluffton had a couple cracks in the final 10 seconds but the Beavers were unable to hit as Spalding took home the consolation game victory..
Jared Wentling, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, had a great performance on the afternoon as the junior dropped in 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, grabbed 13 boards and dished out five assists. Also contributing for the Beavers was Kevin Christie who scored 15 to go along with four dimes while Andrew Renner added nine markers.
Bluffton hit 44.1 percent (26-of-59) from the field while the Golden Eagles finished with a 48 percent afternoon. They also connected on 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from downtown with assists on 17 of their 26 field goals. Despite losing the rebounding battle by a razor-thin 33-32 margin, the Beavers only turned the ball over 13 times while they forced 15 Spalding miscues.
Bluffton will look for its first win of the season when the Beavers come back home to face Ohio Midwestern who they hold a 7-0 record against in the all-time series. The game is set to tip on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 8 PM. Come out and support your Beavers!