2011-12 Men's Basketball
Anderson 69, Bluffton 67
Anderson ends Bluffton's season 69-67 in HCAC tournament
February 24, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information intern
LEXINGTON, Kentucky - For the third time in the last four years, the Anderson University Ravens knocked the Bluffton University men's basketball team out of the Heartland Conference tournament in the quarterfinals. Anderson held on for the 69-67 victory on Friday, Feb. 24, despite five straight missed free throws in the final 30 seconds. Bluffton had three chances to go ahead or tie the game during the span and came up empty each time. The Beavers ended their season at 16-10, while Anderson (15-11) moves into the HCAC semis against #1 seed and host Transylvania at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Senior Nate Heckelman (Norwalk) got the Beavers started right of the bat with a bucket on the first possession of the game. After Anderson grabbed an early nine-point advantage, a quick 6-0 run by the Beavers pulled Bluffton within three (23-20) after a pair of makes from the charity stripe by Brent Farley (Lima/Shawnee) with just under seven minutes to play in the first period
Anderson extended the lead to as many seven over the next minutes, but Bluffton kept it close and once again trimmed the deficit to three, 36-33, on a pair of Farley freebies with 40 seconds remaining. However, the Ravens scored six unanswered points over those next 40 seconds to take a 42-33 lead heading into intermission.
The Beavers came out with a purpose to start the second period, scoring the first five points of the half after a hit from behind the arc by senior Mychal Hill (London/Jon. Alder) shaved the deficit back to 42-38. Once again in the back and forth game, the Ravens responded with a six-point jag to open a 48-38 spread with 15:44 to play.
A Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway) bucket at the 10:43 mark cut the Ravens' edge to 50-47 as the Beavers kept chipping away. With just over five minutes to play, Fisher knotted the score at 59 when he nailed a triple with a hand in his face.
Hill knocked down a trey with just under four minutes to play, giving the Beavers their first lead of the game since early on before a hoop and harm by Farley made the lead 65-63 with 3:03 remaining. Unfortunately, Bluffton went ice cold from the field as a Phil Hogan jumper for the Ravens gave them the 68-67 advantage with 1:52 to play and the Beavers could not muster a bucket the rest of the way. Hogan and Andrew Bowman missed all four of their free throws with time winding down, but Jake Browne capped the scoring (69-67) with seven ticks remaining. Mychal Hill's jumper was just off the mark as time expired on Bluffton's season.
Hill led Bluffton in his final game with 21 points while shooting 5-of-11 from behind the arc. Farley was solid with 13 counters to go along with nine boards and two blocks. Heckelman and Fisher chipped in with 10 and nine points, respectively.
Bluffton went 24-of-57 (42.1 percent) from the field, while Anderson connected on 27-of-55 (49.1 percent). The Beavers finished 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) at the stripe. The Ravens connected on just 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) free throws. Bluffton finished 6-of-19 from outside the arc (31.6 percent), compared to Anderson who went 2-of-8 (25.0 percent) on triples. AU finished with a slim 34-32 edge on the glass, but the Ravens also turned it over two more times (13-11).
Bluffton will say goodbye to an outstanding senior class that consisted of Brent Farley, Nate Heckelman, Mychal Hill, Nick Lee (Vanlue) and Steven Swick (Elida).