By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team won a nail-biter at home over the Mount St. Joseph Lions, 54-53, on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2019. A tip-in by junior Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs) made it 54-51 which helped propel the Beavers to victory. Bluffton improved to 10-2 overall and 4-1 in the Heartland Conference. Mount St. Joseph fell to 3-9 and 1-4 in the HCAC.
Bluffton fell behind 7-6 when the Lions hit a three-point shot just over five minutes into the game. The lead changed hands eight times in the first 10 minutes, but the Beavers never trailed the rest of the way. The home team took its largest lead of the game (33-22) when Taylor knocked down a jumper early in the second stanza. Although the Lions clawed back to tie it at 51 with 1:38 to play, the stout Bluffton defense prevailed in the end, giving the Beavers their fourth conference win on the year.
The home team was led by sophomore Aaron Rich (Greenville) who dropped in 15 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 1-of-3 from behind the arc. He also pulled down five rebounds. Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) netted 11, going 4-of-15 from the field with two crucial threes in the last five minutes. He also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Taylor bucketed 10 points for the Beavers on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. He also pulled down five rebounds.
Bluffton hit 22-of-55 from the field for 40 percent, compared to 20-of-48 (41.7 percent) for the visitors. The Beavers struggled to a 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) night from distance. Bluffton pulled down six more rebounds (36-30). Both squads took care of the ball as MSJ finished with eight of the 15 turnovers on the night. The home team blocked six shots in the victory.
The Beavers will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 5, when they travel to Anderson, Ind., to take on the Ravens. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. following the women's 2 p.m. contest.