By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team went on the road and knocked off arch-rival Defiance College, 85-77, on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Bluffton had three players crack double digits in the win over Defiance. The Beavers improved to 11-3 overall and 5-2 in the Heartland Conference. Defiance slipped to 2-12 overall and 0-7 in the HCAC.
Bluffton fell behind early when Andrew Tyler of Defiance drained a jump shot that put the Jackets up 11-7 with 14:14 left in the first half, but the Beavers knotted it when Mandell Ransaw (Cleveland/Cuyahoga CC) hit from in close to tie the game at 11 apiece. Bluffton never looked back, taking a commanding 43-29 lead at the break.
The Beavers kept their paws on the gas in the second stanza when junior Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) converted a layup just nine seconds in for a 45-29 spread. Although the Yellow Jackets tried to make a late comeback, it fell short as the Beavers came away with the huge victory over 'that other purple school up north!'
Bluffton was led by Renner who netted 23 on 7-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-9 from behind the arc. He also pulled down a team-high six rebounds in the victory. Sophomore Aaron Rich (Greenville) dropped in 16 of his own on a very efficient 7-of-8 from the field and 1-of-1 from three-point land. He equaled Renner for team-high honors with six rebounds of his own.
The Beavers were a blistering 30-of-53 from the field for 56.6 percent, compared to 29-of-68 (42.6 percent) for the Yellow Jackets. Bluffton went 7-of-18 for 38.9 percent from three-point land, and the Beavers were nearly perfect with 18-of-20 (90 percent) at the stripe. However, Bluffton turned the ball over eight more times than the home team (15-7).
The Bluffton men will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 12, when they host HCAC-leading Rose-Hulman (6-1 HCAC) in what should be an outstanding conference tilt. The game will tip at 1 p.m. with the women to follow at 3 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!