2017-18 Men's Basketball
#5 Hanover 59, Bluffton 54
December 9, 2017
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University men’s basketball team tipped off against Hanover for their first contest of a three-game road trip. The Beavers fought hard and were able to hang in the game against the Panthers, but the home team held on, 59-54, as Bluffton dropped to 2-5 (1-2 HCAC) on the season.
Bluffton fell behind 8-2 to start the contest until a JARED WENTLING (Carey) deuce made it 8-4 at the 16:42 mark of the first half. The Panthers then rattled off nine unanswered points for a 17-4 spread. ANDREW HUNTER (Arlington) slowed the momentum when he hit the Beavers' first three of the contest. After knocking down that long ball, Hunter converted a layup and another triple to pull the visitors within five with 7:57 to go.
The visitors continued the run to pull within a single possession after Kevin Christie (Miamisburg/Bishop Fenwick) rolled in a layup which made it 17-14. With 4:58 to go, Bluffton knotted the contest up 19-19 following a jumper by MANDELL RANSAW (Cleveland/Cuyahoga CC). However, the Panthers closed out the first half on a 6-0 run to take a 25-19 lead heading into the break.
The Beavers came out and started the second half with urgency as Christie rattled in an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 25-22. They would be able to tie the game up at 27 after a layup by Andrew Hunter and a three-pointer from ANDREW RENNER (Cairo/Bath). After going 2-for-2 from the line to make it 29-27, Jared Wentling gave the Beavers their first lead of the game.
The teams went back-and-forth and traded baskets until four straight points for the Panthers made the score 55-49 Hanover with 33 seconds left. Following a Bluffton timeout, Andrew Hunter drilled a big triple off a dish from AARON RICH (Greenville) that made it 55-52 with only 19 seconds left in regulation. After a pair of free throws by Hanover, a foul by the Panthers sent Christie to the charity stripe with five ticks remaining. Despite Christie going 2-for-2 from the line, Hanover sealed the victory with a pair of clutch free throws to make the final score 59-54.
Andrew Hunter had a solid afternoon as the senior went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Kevin Christie would add 12 points to go along with his three assists. Also contributing for Bluffton was Andrew Renner (4-of-4 FG, 2-for-2 triples) who notched 10 points and Jared Wentling who tallied six points to go along with seven rebounds.
Bluffton played solid defense, forcing the Panthers into a 20-of-53 (37.7 percent) afternoon from the field, compared to 20-of-45 (44.4 percent) for the visitors. However, the Beavers struggled to take care of the basketball as they coughed it up 17 times. The Panthers finished with a 32-27 edge in the rebounding battle while outscoring Bluffton’s bench, 22-11.
The Beavers continue their road trip with a contest at Franklin that will tip at 4 p.m. next Saturday, Dec. 16.