bc 58, au 70
Bluffton falls at Anderson, 70-58 in Heartland Conference TournamentBy Tim Stried
February 25, 2003
Bluffton College led 29-26 at halftime, but #2 seed Anderson University came back to take a 70-58 win over the 7th-seeded Beavers Tuesday night in the opening round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at Anderson's O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
Bluffton led by as many as eight points in the first half and junior Brad Boyles, who finished with a game-high 19 points, scored Bluffton's first eight points of the second half to give the Beavers a seven-point lead at 37-30 with 16:01 left in the game.
Anderson came back to take a 42-40 lead with 12:10 remaining and the lead would go back and forth for the next five minutes-a span that would come to an end at a crucial point for Bluffton. With the Beavers leading 49-47, Anderson went on a 10-0 run to go up 57-49 with 3:44 left to play and Bluffton wasn't able to regain the lead.
Back-to-back buckets from senior Mike Leimeister, including a 3-pointer, and a layup from Boyles cut the lead to just three points at 59-56 with 2:12 remaining, but another Raven run, this time a 5-0 spurt, sealed the win for the hosts, who will take on Mount St. Joseph Friday night at Hanover in the HCAC semi-finals.
Leimeister, the HCAC's leading scorer at 22.2 points per game, was held to nine points in the contest, which marked his season low and was the first time since Feb. 9 of his junior season that he didn't score in double-figures.
Freshman Darren Clark scored eight points while freshmen Simeon Talley and Eric Sweet both chipped in six points.
Senior Marcus Bixler dished out nine assists in the game, which was his second-highest total of the season.
Bluffton's defensive pressure kept the Beavers in the game as Anderson scored 17 points under their HCAC-leading average and shot just 41.1% from the field for the game, including 21.4% from 3-point range. Bluffton also turned the ball over just 15 times, which marked its lowest total in the past four games, and is an impressive statistic considering that Anderson led the HCAC this season in forced turnovers per game at 19.4.
However, the Ravens took a 47-27 advantage in the rebounding department, including 22 boards at the offensive end, and AU grabbed more rebounds than any other opponent BC has faced this season. In addition, Bluffton was just 1-for-2 from the free throw line, both numbers garnering season-low honors by far. The Ravens were whistled for just 12 personal fouls in the contest.
Bluffton sees their season come to an end at 10-16 overall, which duplicates its record from last season.
Tuesday night marked the end of the collegiate basketball careers of Bluffton seniors Marcus Bixler, Derek DeNero and Mike Leimeister. That trio combined to score 1,079 points this season, which ranks among the highest scoring totals for a senior class in BC history.
Final statistics and a season recap will be released next week.