By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team won a nail-biter, 63-60, after trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half against the Hanover College Panthers on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. Freshman Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) hit a clutch free throw with six tenths of a second left in regulation that sealed the victory when Hanover's 80-footer at the buzzer drew iron. Bluffton improved to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the Heartland Conference, while Hanover fell to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the HCAC.
Although the Beavers trailed by 12 at the half (34-22), they were still in the hunt thanks to some outstanding defense the first 20 minutes. The Beavers fell behind 13-5 when Hanover hit a jumper with 13:54 left in the half. The Panthers extended their lead to 23-7 with 6:20 left in the opening stanza.
After a sluggish first half, the Beavers found their groove in the second stanza thanks to a seven-minutes stretch that saw sophomore Dezman Brown (Elyria) drain all three of his triple attempts as well as a layup. Bluffton took its first lead of the game (57-55) with 1:20 play when Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) got to the rack and hit an off-balance runner and the Beavers never trailed again as they ultimately prevailed for a huge conference victory over a very good Hanover team.
Brown led the way for the Beavers as he had a team-high 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-8 from behind the arc. He also dished out two assists and pulled down two rebounds while doing a phenomenal job on 2017-18 HCAC Player of the Year Cam Fails. Sophomore Aaron Rich (Greenville) netted 11 of his own and he also pulled down six rebounds. Senior Justis Dowdy (Van Wert/Lincolnview) added 11 on a very efficient 4-of-5 from the field and an even hotter 3-of-3 from behind the arc! Renner and Cosby pulled down seven and six rebounds, respetively.
The Beavers will be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 15, when they host the Franklin College Grizzlies in an HCAC battle. The game will tip at approximately 4 p.m. after the women's contest. Come out to the Sommer Center and support your Beavers!