bc 93, au 84
Defense and Bixler's 23 points lead Bluffton past Anderson 93-84
By Tim Stried
February 8, 2003
Led by a career-high 23 points from senior Marcus Bixler, Bluffton College knocked off Anderson University, the second-ranked team in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, 93-84 Saturday afternoon in Founders Hall.
Bixler hit a career-high four 3-pointers and added five rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the Beavers to their fourth win in the last six games. BC is now 10-11 overall and 4-7 in the HCAC, while Anderson sees their record slip to 14-7 overall and 7-4 in the HCAC.
Bluffton held Anderson, the top scoring club in the conference at 87.9 points per game, to a 37.9% shooting percentage from the floor and a 9-for-28 (32.1%) effort from 3-point range.
"We're playing at the level of intensity that we want our teams to play at," said head coach Guy Neal after the game. "The kids have done a good job on focusing on the tendencies of our opponents and it has made us a much better defensive team."
Senior Mike Leimeister added 19 points, senior Derek DeNero added 14 and freshman Darren Clark netted a career-high 10 points off the bench.
Foul trouble was a concern the entire game, as junior Brad Boyles fouled out and four other BC players ended the game with four fouls. One of those players was Bixler, but he didn't let that stop him from carrying Bluffton to its first win over Anderson since the 2000-01 season.
"Marcus is playing like you want your senior point guard to play," said Neal. "He's playing defense, he's running the offense and he has stepped up his own offensive point production."
Bixler's previous career high was 20 points at Anderson on January 11 but the Ravens won 89-87. In the win Saturday, however, his points helped increase Bluffton's leads while its leading scorer, Leimeister, was on the bench either due to fouls or an injured forearm, which sent him out of the game for several minutes in the second half. He did return, though, and the injury isn't serious.
Bluffton hit 7-of-11 three-pointers in the first half to go up by as many as 11 points, but BC led by just two points at halftime, 45-43.
Bluffton built their lead up to 13 points at 72-59 with 7:54 remaining in the game, but a 13-0 Anderson run tied the score at 72-72 with 5:33 to play. Back-to-back layups from Boyles off nice assists from freshman Eric Sweet and Bixler put BC back up by four and Bluffton didn't trail the rest of the way.
Sweet finished with nine points and new career highs of nine rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. Boyles and freshman Simeon Talley each chipped in seven points.
Anderson also placed four scorers in double-figures, led by Ben Rans with 22 points. Erik Chapman added 21. The Ravens fall for the fourth time in their last five games after starting the season 13-3 and were without the services of their leading scorer, Gaga Ghebremichael (13.3 ppg), who missed his second game in a row with a hand injury.
Bluffton out-rebounded Anderson 41-35 and ended the game 10-for-21 (47.6%) from 3-point range.
The Beavers will travel to Franklin College Wednesday night at 7:30.