Bluffton 81, Cardinal Stritch 65
Beavers move into championship game at North Central with 81-65 win over Cardinal Stritch
November 17, 2006
NAPERVILLE, Ill. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team opened its 2006-07 season with a convincing 81-65 victory over a much taller Cardinal Stritch squad in the opening game at the North Central Tip-Off Tournament on Friday, November 17, 2006. The Beavers used a 24-6 run midway through the second half to pick up a win in their season opener. Bluffton will play in the championship game on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. against host North Central.
A pair of Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) jumpers and a Mike Anthony (Ohio City/Delphos St. John's) triple helped Bluffton jump out to an early 9-4 lead. A PJ Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) basket and another Anthony score boosted the Beavers' advantage to nine points, 13-4, less than five minutes into the contest.
Bluffton maintained a nine-point lead at 21-12 following triples by Josiah Stober (Spencerville/Spencerville) and Nate Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace).
When Marquelle Joyner converted on an old-fashioned three-point play, Cardinal Stritch found itself down by only three points, 26-23.
A Cunningham trifecta put Bluffton up by eight points, 31-23, but Cardinal Stritch picked up the intensity on the defensive end and went on a 15-2 run which left Bluffton down by five points, 38-33, with four minutes to play in the opening half.
The Beavers responded with three consecutive three-pointers to end the half, including two from senior forward Mike Anthony, giving Bluffton a 44-40 lead at the break.
Two quick Stritch baskets knotted the game at 44 early in the second half, but the Beavers were up to the challenge. Anthony and freshman guard Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) took over for Bluffton as they combined for 18 of the Beavers' points in a 24-6 run which put the game on ice.
Cardinal Stritch netted the next six points on a couple Chad Dekker jumpers and Trey Triplett basket before Bluffton pushed its advantage back to 16 points following a Cunningham triple and Stober jumper with four minutes left in the contest. Another Cunningham trifecta gave Bluffton its largest lead of the game, 81-61, before Stritch knocked down a free throw and three-pointer to make the final score 81-65 in favor of the Beavers.
Senior Mike Anthony put up a monster performance in the Beavers' 2006-07 opener. He hit 8-of-14 shots from the field, including five-of-seven from long distance to lead Bluffton with 23 points. Anthony also hauled in a team-high nine boards, picked up two steals and had one assist. Sophomore Colt Cunningham also caught fire from behind the three-point arc as he hit four-of-seven and finished with 20 points. Freshman Zack Kraus was a perfect four-of-four from the field for nine points and he pulled down five rebounds in the victory. Senior point guard Eric Schwieterman (St. Henry/St. Henry) dished out a game-high five assists, went six-of-eight from the charity stripe and cleared the glass with five rebounds. Nate Overmyer and Josiah Stober chipped in with eight and seven points respectively.
Bluffton lit it up from long distance, going 13-of-25 for 52 percent on triples. For the game, Bluffton shot 50 percent (29-of-58) and it held Cardinal Stritch to nine percent shooting on three-pointers (1-of-11). The Beavers pulled down 38 rebounds compared to 32 for Stritch.
The Beavers move into the tournament championship game against North Central on Saturday, November 18, at 8 p.m.