2014-15 Men's Basketball
Bluffton 81, Kalamazoo 69
November 15, 2014
By: Josh Burkholder, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men’s basketball team rode a 46-25 first half to a season-opening victory over Kalamazoo College on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. The Beavers were able to hold on in the second half for the 81-69 victory, thanks in large part to 11 triples.
BILLY TAFLINGER (Lima/Central Catholic) started the scoring onslaught right away by grabbing the tip and streaking straight in for a layup. Bluffton ran out to a 10-2 lead following a jumper from senior RYAN EBBESKOTTE (Delphos/Jefferson) and four free throws from junior big man THAYNE RECKER (Arlington).
The next six minutes would see the Beavers stretch their lead to 32-10. This included six triples, with Ebbeskotte and BLAKE GREEN (Delta) netting two apiece, while freshman JOSHUA WOODRICH (Navarre/Central Christian) and senior ZACH RUMBAUGH (Lima/Senior) also hit from deep.
Bluffton added three more deep balls before the half for a 21-point lead, two coming from sophomore AUSTIN ROHDE (Shelby). The Beavers drained 9-of-11 for a blistering 81.8 percent behind the arc in the opening stanza.
The Beavers opened their largest lead of the contest, 27, early in the second half after an old-fashioned three-point play by Recker and another trifecta from Ebbeskote. Kalamazoo did not go away as the Hornets made it a game down the stretch, trimming the lead to 17 after five minutes and eventually eight with 1:36 left to play. That was when Ebbeskotte broke the press and found Recker for a thunderous dunk. A Kalamazoo three-pointer with 25 seconds to play brought the lead to seven, but it was too little, too late for the Hornets, thanks to Bluffton going 12-of-14 from the charity stripe over the final two minutes.
Recker led the Beaver attack with a double-double, posting team highs of 17 points and 12 rebounds to go along with five blocks and four assists, both career highs. He was very impressive at the stripe, going 11-of-12. Taflinger, Ebbeskotte, and Rohde all finished with 13 points. Taflinger finished 7-of-8 from the line and he added four assists.
Bluffton shot better from beyond the arc than it did from the field, 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) compared to 23-for-44 (52.3 percent). Kalamazoo hit 26-of-64 (40.6 percent) from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) on three-pointers. Rebounds were even at 32 apiece. Bluffton posted impressive numbers with 18 assists and 24-of-28 (86 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Beavers will travel to the North Central Tip-Off Tourney in Naperville, Ill next Friday, Nov. 21, for a 3:30 p.m. meeting with defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater. They have the nightcap the following evening at 8:30 pm (EST), squaring off with tournament host North Central.