By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
NEW WILMINGTON, Penn. - The Bluffton University men's basketbal team headed east to Westminster College for the Buzz Ridl Classic on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. A three-pointer at the buzzer gave Westminster a 71-69 victory in Bluffton's season opener from New Wilmington, Penn.
With 1:52 left in the contest, junior Dezman Brown (Elyria) would lay one in for the Beavers, making the score 69-68 in favor of Bluffton. That score held until the final seconds of the game when Westminster drilled a game-winning three-point shot to stun the Beavers at the buzzer. A front end miss by the Beavers allowed the Titans to take one last shot and unfortunately for Bluffton, it was not the result that they wanted.
The game was neck and neck from the get go with both teams dueling it out on both ends of the court. With 12:33 in the first stanza, Bluffton took the lead when sophomore Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) knocked down a triple to make the score 11-9. With both teams exchanging leads early in the contest, the Beavers would find their biggest spread with 6:37 left in the first half when junior Aaron Rich (Greenville) hit from in close to make the Bluffton lead 26-17.
The Titans would not give in though, fighting back and cutting the Beaver lead to just, 35-34, at the break. Bluffton stayed on top until a Daniel Ritter trifecta with 18:41 to play made it 39-37 in favor of the Titans. Westminster led for the next 11 minutes until a Renner deuce made the score 60-58 in favor of the good duys. It was back and forth for the remainder of the game, and unfortunately Bluffton was on the wrong end of a buzzer beater which capped off a thriller.
Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) paced the Beavers with 21 points, while Brown and Rich put up 15 and 14, respectively. Rich pulled down a team-high nine rebounds, just missing out on his first career double-double. Renner and Brown both tied for a team high with three assists each against the Titans.
Bluffton hit 29-of-73 (39.7 percent), including 5-of-20 (25 percent) from distance. The visitors converted 6-of-8 (75 percent) at the stripe and also pulled down seven more boards (45-38) than the Titans.
Bluffton jumps right back into action on Saturday, Nov. 16, when the Beavers take on Thiel College to cap off the opening weekend at the Buzz Ridl Classic.