By: Joe Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team was back in action for the second straight night in the McDonald's Holiday Tournament title game. The Beavers knocked off a talented Albion College squad that was under the direction of former Coach Neal assistant Jody May, 73-63, on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Bluffton's first points of the night came on a Dezman Brown (Elyria) layup with 18:25 in the first stanza that tied the game at two apiece. The Beavers scratched and clawed the rest of the way and pulled out a very impressive victory over a Britons unit that squashed Grove City, 94-53, on Friday afternoon.
With 10:26 remaining in the first half, an Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) three put the Beavers up 21-15 mid-way through the opening stanza. The visitors responded with a 20-6 jag over the final eight minutes of the half for a 37-32 lead at the break.
Brown was on fire from behind the arc and he stepped up while his teammates were saddled with foul trouble throughout much of the game. His triple with 16:53 left in the second half put Bluffton up 42-39 and the home team never looked back. The Beavers led by as many as 14 points en route to their 73-63 victory.
McDonald's Tournament MVP Andrew Renner led the way with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. He also pulled down six rebounds. Brown added a career-high 21 on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, and he was a blistering 5-of-7 from behind the arc on the way to All-Tournament honors. Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) and Aaron Rich (Greenville) bucketed 11 and nine points, respectively. Senior Justis Dowdy (Van Wert/Lincolnview) handed out a career-high tying and game-high five dimes.
Bluffton hit 27-of-55 from the field for 49.1 percent, but the three-point line was the difference as the Beavers were a red-hot 9-of-20 for 45 percent, compared to just 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) for the visitors. Both teams coughed it up just 10 times and they were also on the same wavelength with 30 boards apiece.
The Beavers will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 2, when they play host to the Mount St. Joseph Lions in an HCAC matchup. The game will tip at 7:30 p.m. in the Sommer Center. Come support your Beavers!