By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team dropped an HCAC road clash at conference-leading Hanover College, 78-55, on Saturday, Jan. 26. Bluffton struggled out of the gate as the Panthers opened up a 14-2 spread when Cam Fails nailed a three-point shot less than three minutes into the contest. The Beavers never led during the game, falling to 14-5 overall and 8-4 in the Heartland Conference, while Hanover improved to 15-4 overall and 10-2 in the HCAC.
The Beavers first bucket came on a Justis Dowdy (Van Wert/Lincolnview) jump shot that made the score 4-2 in favor of the Panthers. Bluffton went scoreless for the next two plus minutes and the visitors never recovered. After a poor shooting first half, the Beavers went into the break down 48-29 and had some major work to do in the second half if a comeback was to be made. Although Bluffton never gave in, Hanover's early onslaught was too much for the Beavers to overcome.
Bluffton was led by Dowdy who netted 18 on a superb 8-of-10 shooting afternoon, including 2-of-3 from outside the arc. Freshman Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) dropped in eight of his own on 4-of-7 from the field. He also pulled down a team high-six rebounds in the loss. Junior Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) checked in with three steals, three rebounds and two assists.
The Beavers were a stout 24-of-47 from the field for 51.1 percent, compared to 26-of-45 (57.8 percent) for the Panthers. Bluffton struggled with just 4-of-16 from three-point land for 25 percent while the Panthers were a blistering 10-of-20 for 50 percent from behind the arc. The Beavers turned the ball over 14 times compared to the 11 for the Panthers. Hanover pulled down six more rebounds (28-22) than Bluffton.
The men will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 30, when they travel down I-75 to the Queen City for a Heartland Conference matchup with the Mount St. Joseph Lions. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.