By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team fought of a comeback bid from the Defiance College Yellow Jackets and held on for a 55-50 victory on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The Beavers jumped out to a quick start off a Defiance turnover that turned into a Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) slam at the other end to get the crowd on their feet early. Bluffton would ultimately come out with a huge rivalry win, improving to 16-6 overall and 10-5 in the Heartland Conference while Defiance slipped to 3-19 overall and 1-14 in the HCAC.
With 5:19 remaining in the first stanza, Aaron Rich (Greenville) hit a layup that put the Beavers up 27-13 over the Yellow Jackets. However, a five-minute dry stretch allowed Defiance to scratch back into the game and make it a manageable 10-point deficit at the half (27-17).
The Beavers saw their one-time 14-point lead cut to just one when Defiance's Jordan Maschino tipped in a putback that made it 31-30 with 14:11 left in the contest. But the Beavers would not give in. With a minute remaining in the game, senior Justis Dowdy (Van Wert/Lincolnview) grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back, drawing a foul and completing the old-fashioned three-point play to make the score 53-46.
Missed free throws late would give the Yellow Jackets a chance to get back in the game and they cut it to one possession when Tyler Andrew hit a layup to make it 53-50 Bluffton with 25 ticks remaining. The Beavers survived a couple cracks from three-point land in the final 10 seconds to come out on the victorious side (55-50).
Bluffton was led by Dezman Brown (Elyria) who poured in 15 on a very efficient 6-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point land. Rich netted 13 of his own, also on 6-of-8 shooting, and he pulled down five rebounds in the victory. Cosby stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, seven boards, a career-high tying six dimes and a steal.
The Beavers were 23-of-51 from the field for 45.1 percent on the night, including 4-of-17 from three-point land. The Yellow Jackets hit 18-of-59 for 30.5 percent and 7-of-20 from behind the arc (35 percent). Bluffton turned the ball over 18 times compared to just 10 for the Yellow Jackets. The Beavers pulled down eight more rebounds (40-32).
Bluffton will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 9, when the men host the Anderson University Ravens for Alumni Day in the Sommer Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. following the Alumni Game that morning. Come out and support your Beavers!