2014-15 Men's Basketball
Hanover 60, Bluffton 56
January 10, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - Despite a valiant effort, the Bluffton University men’s basketball team lost a tight game on the road to the first place Hanover College Panthers, 60-56, on Saturday, Jan. 10. The contest was back and forth most of the way and neither team ever led by more than nine throughout the contest. The win keeps the Hanover College Panthers tied with Mount St Joseph and Defiance, Bluffton’s next opponent, at the top of the Heartland Conference with a 5-1 record (8-5 overall). The Beavers fell to 6-7 overall and 2-4 in the HCAC.
Hanover got a great jump on the Beavers, taking a quick 9-3 lead in the opening six minutes of the contest. Bluffton responded with a big 17-4 spurt to take a seven-point lead, including buckets from four different Beavers during the run. The visitor lead would hit nine on two separate occasions, including on a triple from Andrew Finley (Cincinnati/Walnut Hills) to end the first stanza on top, 29-20.
The Panthers came out firing to begin the second half, scoring 14 of the first 22 points to pull the home team within a point. Hanover knotted the contest at 39 with just 11:20 remaining.
The lead would change hands five times in the second half to go along with the five ties that occurred in the stanza. Three of those lead changes came on key three-balls from Finley, the final of those coming with 4:15 left when he gave Bluffton a 50-49 advantage. A jumper from Kyle James gave the lead back to Hanover before Bluffton’s Austin McDonald (Upland, Ind./Eastbrook) would tie the contest with a freebie. Following a triple from Ethan Black, the visitors knotted it once again, this time on a Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) three. Hanover took the lead for good with another bucket from James with 1:11 to go and the Panthers held on for the four-point win.
Hanover’s red-hot second half shooting keyed the victory, as the Panthers responded from their 29.2 percent first half with a 55.6 percent second to finish 43.1 percent (22-of-51) from the floor. They also shot 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from deep and 85.7 percent (12-of-14) from the stripe. Bluffton was on fire from three-point land, going 11-of-23 (47.8 percent), but went only 20-of-49 (40.8 percent) from the floor thanks to a 9-of-26 effort inside the arc. Hanover also took care of the ball, committing just five turnovers to 11 for Bluffton.
The Beavers were led by freshman phenom Andrew Finley and his career-high 17 points on a career-best 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. He also added two assists and two steals. Senior Ryan Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) chipped in with 11 points, three boards and four assists while drilling all three of his triple attempts. Billy Taflinger had nine points and four assists, while Thayne Recker (Arlington) finished with eight points and 12 boards in his return to the lineup. Hanover placed three in double digits, led by Ethan Black's 18 points on 6-of-7 from the floor in the win.
Bluffton will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 14, when the Beavers take on the arch-rival Defiance College Yellow Jackets in a rare weeknight double dip. The women’s game will tip at 6 p.m. in the Sommer Center with the men to follow at approximately 8 p.m. Come support your Beavers!