By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team was back in action on Friday, Dec. 28, after being off nearly two weeks for Christmas. Following the break, the Beavers took on Ohio Mid-Western in their first game of the McDonald's Holiday Tournament, downing the Lakers by a score of 83-64 on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Bluffton trailed after the opening tip for 17 seconds when Anton Dean went straight to the hoop to put the Lakers up 2-0. It was all Beavers the rest of the way as Bluffton improved to 8-2 overall. The Beavers will take on Albion College tomorrow night (Saturday) in the championship game of the 21st annual McDonalds Holiday Tournament.
This one would be all Beavers from the get go. Although Ohio Mid-Western scored on the opening tip, that would be the only time the Rams would lead during the contest. Although Bluffton led by 20 early on, the Beavers only went into the half up 36-30 thanks to a 13-minute stretch that netted a paltry six points.
The Beavers finally found a groove in the second stanza thanks to the solid play by Aaron Rich (Greenville). They extended their lead to 71-54 with 5:54 left to play when Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) drained a free throw that capped an old-fashioned three-point play and all but sealed the victory for Bluffton.
Rich led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on a ridiculous 10-of-12 from the field, including 1-of-2 from three-point land. He also came down with a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) netted 18 of his own on 6-of-14 from the field, blistering the nets for a career-best 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Renner added 15 points and six assists, while senior Justis Dowdy (Van Wert/Lincolnview) chipped in 10 counters on 4-of-6 from the field. Junior Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs) handed out a career-high six dimes and completed the triplicate with six points and six rebounds.
Bluffton knocked down 31-of-66 from the field for 47 percent, compared to 26-of-74 (35.1 percent) for the visitors. The Beavers just edged out the Lakers in the rebounding category as they pulled down two more boards (46-44).
The Beavers will be back in action tomorrow night (Saturday, Dec. 29) when they take on the Albion College Britons in the 2018 McDonalds Holiday Tournament championship game. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!