By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
HIRAM, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team traveled to Hiram College for a Thanksgiving Eve matchup with the Terriers on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Three Beavers notched double figures in the scoring column which helped propel them to a 76-61 victory over the Terriers. Bluffton improved to 3-2 overall while Hiram fell to 2-4 on the year.
The offenses struggled with missed shots and a flurry of turnovers to start the game before the Beavers would get things together when Aaron Rich (Greenville) hit from in close to make it 5-4 and giving the Beavers their first lead of the game. The action was back and forth until there was 2:15 left in the contest when Dezman Brown (Elyria) would knock down a jumper to make the score 70-55 as the Beavers opened their largest lead of the game en route to the 76-61 victory.
After a slow start for both teams, they would both get back on track, and fast. The Terriers notched the first bucket of them game when Tyler McMillion knocked down an early jumper to make it 2-0 in favor of the home team with 19:09 left in the first half. Despite the slow start, Bluffton would get back on track and would take their largest lead of the first half when Jerred Kinnaird (Lewis Center/Olentangy) would lay one in to make it 24-12 with 8:47 left in the first stanza. Hiram would not back down, coming all the way back to tie it at 33 apiece heading into the break.
Despite frittering away the first-half lead, Bluffton scored the first two baskets out of the half to make it 38-33 in favor of the visitors less than a minute in. The Terriers would not go away though, taking the lead back from the Beavers for the first time since early in the game when Jalen Kirksey dropped one in to make it 48-47 Hiram with just over 13 minutes to go. Bluffton would take the lead right back when Rich got to the rack to make it 49-48 with 12:17 left, igniting a 26-9 jag that sealed Bluffton's third win of the season.
Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) led the way for Bluffton with 24 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field and he also pulled down four rebounds. Rich came in behind, chipping in 19 of his own on a red-hot 9-of-13 shooting and he pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in the win. Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) would join the double-digit point club with 12 markers, hitting both of his triple tries. Carter Kinnaird (Lewis Center/Olentangy) also pulled down a career-high eight boards for the victors.
Bluffton hit 29-of-68 (42.6 percent) from the field, including 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) from distance. Hiram would turn the ball over 12 times compared to Bluffton's 10 miscues. The Beavers dominated in the key, putting up 42 points in the paint, compared to just 16 for the home Terriers.
Bluffton will return home for turkey and stuffing following their second straight victory. The Beavers are back in action next Wednesday, Dec. 4, when they welcome Mount St. Joseph for the Heartland Conference lidlifter. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. in the Sommer Center.