Bluffton 87, Hiram 70
Beavers finish with 18-2 jag for 87-70 victory over Hiram College
November 28, 2007
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team defeated Hiram College in an intense battle against the Terriers by a final score of 87-70 on Wednesday, November 28, 2007. The Beavers upped their record to 3-2 in the 2007-2008 season while Hiram fell to 0-4.
The Beavers took an early 8-0 lead in the first few minutes of action with one bucket each from P.J. Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) and Zack Kraus (Findlay/Findlay) and four points from junior Nick Wilson (Continental/Continental).
Hiram responded with four points before Bluffton added two more points following a jumper by Zack Kraus. By the 13:18 mark, Bluffton had jumped ahead of Hiram with a score of 18-9. One three-pointer and two Hiram jump shots created a seven-point run before the Beavers answered with a Justin Rufenacht (Wauseon/Pettisville) layup.
The Terriers took the lead at the 9:57 mark thanks to a three-pointer by Hiram's Mike Staley. Zack Kraus responded with two points for the Beavers, only to be countered by a jumper from Terrier Jason Hebeisen. The score teetered back-and-forth between the two teams over the next five and a half minutes.
With 4:37 to go in the opening half, the Beavers tied the score at 33 following a trifecta from Nate Overmyer (Payne, Wayne Trace). Justin Rufenacht, Zack Kraus, and freshman Ben Shindeldecker (Ohio City/Crestview) hit from in close late in the half as the Beavers went to the break on top, 39-38.
A turnover and steal led to a Hiram three-pointer from Ian Pfouts early in the second stanza. Bluffton fell behind 52-47 at the 15-minute mark. Another Overmyer triple at the 11:28 mark put the Beavers on top once again, 56-54.
The Beavers increased their lead with layups from Justin Rufenacht and P.J. Juenger, along with a three-pointer from Aaron Taylor (Antwerp/Antwerp) and two long-range Nate Overmyer bombs. The Terriers clawed their way back within one point as the clock ticked down to six minutes, but the Beavers proved to be too much.
Over the last six and a half minutes of the game, the Beavers went on an 18-2 jag as Colt Cunningham (Powell/Worthington Christian) went 5-for-6 at the charity stripe to give Bluffton the win by a final score of 87-70.
Overmyer led the Beavers with a career-high 22 points on the night, including six hoops from outside the arc, and he also led the team with three steals. Colt Cunningham dished out a career-high six assists while P.J. Juenger and Josh Eichar added seven rebounds each for Bluffton. Zack Kraus chipped in with 14 points. Juenger and Cunningham dropped in 13 points apiece and Wilson added 11 points
Bluffton hit over 85 percent from the charity stripe (12-14) compared to a 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) night for Hiram. Bluffton pulled down six more rebounds (41-35) than Hiram as the Beavers picked up the victory over the Terriers. The home team drained 11-of-21 three-pointers for an outstanding 52.4 percent. Bluffton finished the night 32-for-67 from the field (47.8 percent).
Mike Staley contributed 23 points for Hiram, including three triples. Chris Roberts chipped in 13 points and Nick Russo added 11 for the Terriers.
The Beavers return to action on Saturday, December 1, when they travel to Franklin College for the Heartland Conference opener. The contest is slated to start at 3 p.m.