bc 90, dc 91
Defiance tops Bluffton 91-90 in HCAC tournament thrillerFebruary 19, 2002
After Bluffton's wild 106-103 win over Defiance last Wednesday night, it would have been hard to imagine that these two teams could produce anything more dramatic on the basketball court. But they did just that Tuesday night at Defiance in the first round of the Heartland Conference tournament.
Unfortunately for Bluffton fans, the end result was in favor of Defiance as the Yellow Jackets took a 91-90 win over the Beavers to advance to a semi-final matchup with Manchester College Friday night at Hanover College.
Junior Mike Leimeister led Bluffton with 36 points and senior Rod Overmyer scored 31 points as both players set their career-high in scoring and tied a BC record in the process. The duo combined for 67 points, tying the Bluffton record for the top 2-man scoring performance in a single game. Clair Recker and John Brown combined for 67 points against Malone in 1973 and Lynn Martin and Alex Clark combined for 67 points against Northwood Institute in 1964.
Overmyer's 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the game tied the score at 87-87, but Defiance scored three unanswered points to take a 90-87 lead with :32 to play. BC missed back-to-back 3-point attempts with under 30 seconds left and Defiance's TJ Hammer sank a free throw with :07 to go to give the Yellow Jackets a four-point lead.
However, Overmyer drained an off-balance 3-pointer from the right corner with three seconds left to bring Bluffton to within one point, and Leimeister stole the inbounds pass and put up what could have been the game-winner. His attempt was just short, however, and Defiance had survived to avoid their second loss to Bluffton on a last-second shot in the last six days.
Bluffton tied a season-high by shooting 90.0% (27-for-30) from the free throw line, which kept the Beavers in the game as Defiance post-players Mike Kurdziel, Jeremy Miklovic and Shaun Koren combined for 51 points in the game. The Yellow Jackets hit just 55.2% (16-for-29) of their free throw attempts in the game.
Leimeister, who scored 24 of his points in the first half, was 10-for-11 from the line in the game and hit the 30-point mark in scoring for the fifth time in the last 10 games. He is the first player in Bluffton history to score 30 or more points against the same team three times in one season. Leimeister averaged 33.3 points against the Yellow Jackets this season (100 points in three games).
Overmyer connected on six 3-pointers, giving him 182 treys for his career, which ranks second all-time in BC history. He ended his career with 1,086 points, which ranks 16th all-time at Bluffton.
Defiance took a 51-36 advantage in the rebounding department, including 20 offensive rebounds, which led to 16 second-chance points, compared to just 10 offensive rebounds and five second-chance points for Bluffton.
Defiance led for most of the first half, going up by as many as 10 points midway through the first 20 minutes, but Bluffton scored 11 of the final 13 points before halftime to take a 45-43 lead at the intermission.
There were 28 ties or lead changes in the second half as these two teams put on their third thrilling and high-scoring contest of the season. In three matchups this season, Bluffton and Defiance combined for 584 points (Defiance outscored Bluffton by a slim 294-290 margin).