Franklin 83, Bluffton 59
Grizzlies drop Bluffton to 15-5, 5-4 HCAC with 83-59 win over Beavers
By Bill Hanefeld Jr., sports information director
February 1, 2006
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team fell to 15-5 and 5-4 in the Heartland Conference with an 83-59 loss at Franklin on Wednesday, February 1, 2006. The Beavers led 21-20 with five minutes to play in the opening stanza before Franklin rolled off 11 unanswered points to send Bluffton to the break down 31-21. Bluffton never recovered as the Grizzlies put the game on ice with a 15-4 run during the first five minutes of the second half.
Jace Redman followed a Nick Kane jumper with a bucket of his own to put Franklin up 4-0 less than two minutes into the game. The Beavers answered with a triple from Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore), consecutive Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa Glandorf) lay-ups and a jumper from P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) to take a 9-7 lead at the 14:52 mark of the first half. Junior David Patch (Minster/Minster) followed Bergman's second three-pointer with a trifecta to put the Beavers up 17-14 with just under 12 minutes to play in the half. Bergman nailed a jumper at the five minute mark giving Bluffton a 21-20 lead, but then the wheels fell off for the Beavers. Seven missed shots and two turnovers during the final five minutes allowed the Grizzlies to put together an 11-point run sending the Beavers to the lockers down 31-21.
Bergman picked off an errant Franklin pass and converted to narrow the gap to eight points early in the second stanza before the Grizzlies exploded for an 18-4 run to open up a 22-point advantage (49-27) with just under 15 minutes to play. Bergman scored the next nine Bluffton points, including a pair of long distance triples, to trim the gap to 15 points at the 12 minute mark. Sweet converted on a three-point play the old fashioned way, but Jon Neill followed his three-point play with a trifecta to push the Grizzlies' advantage back to 18 with 10:12 to play in the game. When Bergman hit his final trifecta of the contest with 6:31 left the Beavers were down by only 12 (65-53). That was as close as the Beavers would get. Luke Tudor capped a 10-2 Franklin run with a pair of shots from the charity stripe to give the Grizzlies a 75-55 lead with less than three minutes on the clock. Sweet hit from in close and freshman Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) sank two free throws in the closing seconds to provide the final margin (83-59) as Franklin improved to 14-6, 6-3 HCAC.
Bergman led all scorers as he poured in 33 points to bring his career total to 1,500 points, sixth on the all-time list at Bluffton University. Scott hit 12-21 from the field, including a phenomenal 6-9 from outside the arc. He pulled down four rebounds, dished out three assists and tallied three steals in the contest. Sweet chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds. Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) tallied six points and three assists. The Beavers' ball-handling was uncharacteristic as Franklin forced Bluffton into 21 miscues on the night.
Bluffton will return to action on Saturday, February 4, 2006 when it hosts conference-leading Transylvania in an HCAC battle. The annual Bluffton University men's basketball alumni game will precede the contest with the Pioneers. The alumni game will begin at 1 p.m. and it will be followed by the Bluffton-Transylvania contest which is scheduled for 3 p.m.