Bluffton University 63, Tiffin University 55
Beavers claim second consecutive McDonald's championship with 63-55 victory over Tiffin
By Molly Burnell, sports information assistant
December 30, 2005
BLUFFTON, Ohio -The Bluffton University men's basketball team (9-1) defeated the Tiffin University Dragons (9-3) in the championship game of the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament on Friday, December 30, 2005. The Beavers won the contest by a final score of 63-55. For their efforts in the tournament, seniors Scott Bergman (Elmore/Woodmore) and Eric Sweet (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) were named to the All-Tournament team and Bergman was selected as the MVP. Bergman and Sweet were joined on the All-Tournament team by Bob Beshears (Indiana University East), Korte Long (Millikin), Lamont Ellis (Tiffin) and Ryan Pessell (Tiffin).
Tiffin took a 4-0 lead when Pessell freed himself inside for two quick scores to put
the Dragons on the board two minutes into the game. Sweet answered with two layups
of his own to knot the score at four with 16 minutes to play. Michael Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. Johns) and Sweet both knocked in buckets to give Bluffton
a four point advantage. The Dragons were unfazed as Ellis hit a layup and sank a free
throw to cut the Beavers' lead to one point. Denote Murphy scored two points off a Bluffton turnover to give Tiffin a one-point cushion with
12 minutes to play in the half. The Beavers and Dragons played hard over the next
few minutes and kept the score within five points until a Hernandez Skiver free throw put Tiffin up by seven points with just under seven minutes remaining
in the half. A three-pointer by senior Darren Clark (Plain City/Jonathan Alder) and an Anthony jumper cut the Dragons' lead to two points.
Junior Tom Heil (Stow/Archbishop Hoban) connected on a free throw and Bergman responded with a jumper
to put Bluffton back on top. Pessell scored eight straight points during the final
two minutes of the half to give Dragons a 28-23 lead at the break.
Defense continued to rule the day at the start of the second period. Sweet connected on a jumper and Tiffin's Ryan Frasier hit one for the Dragons as the teams combined for only four points during the first five minutes of the second half. An Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) bucket broke the ice at the 15 minute mark. Sophomore PJ Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) nailed two shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 32 with 12 minutes to play. The Beavers and Dragons traded baskets until freshman Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) hit a trey to give Bluffton a three-point lead with less than ten minutes remaining in the game. The Beavers knocked down 13 shots from the charity stripe during the final four minutes of the contest, including four from Bergman when the Tiffin coach was ejected from the contest with one second on the clock, to secure their second consecutive McDonald's Tournament championship 63-55.
Bergman led the Beavers with 18 points, including 7-8 free throws, and 10 rebounds. The senior also added a team-high five assists. Sweet contributed 15 points and three rebounds. Anthony scored 11 points and pulled down eight boards for the victors. Clark led the Beavers with three steals in the game.
Bluffton will return to action on Monday, January 2 when it hosts Carnegie-Mellon. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.