By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team played host to Otterbein College in the annual McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Classic on Saturday, Dec. 28. It would be all Beavers from the get go as the home team never trailed in the contest which culminated in a 70-50 victory for the good guys.
Bluffton jumped out to a quick start when Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) notched a deuce to make the score 7-2 less than two minutes into the game. The Beavers took a 10-point lead on another Cosby deuce that would make it 18-8 with 13:23 to go in the first half. The Cardinals used a quick spurt to cut into the lead, but the Beavers were just too much in the end, leading to a 70-50 victory for the home team.
The Beavers opened up an early nine-point lead when Aaron Rich (Greenville) would lay one in to make the score 13-4 with 16:46 left in the first stanza. Bluffton would control the pace for the majority of the half, taking a 33-26 lead into the break.
Bluffton kicked off the second half with two fast buckets. First, was a layup from Dezman Brown (Elyria) and the next tally would come on an Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) three ball that pushed the score to 38-26. With 3:16 left in the game, Bluffton's Jerred Kinnaird (Lewis Center/Olentangy) would lay one in, extending the Beaver lead to 66-46. Bluffton's largest crease would come with 50 seconds to play when Ronnie James (Cleveland/Benedictine) got to the rack to make it 70-48 which would all but seal the victory for the home team.
Renner paced the Beavers with 14 points on 5-of-11 from the field while pulling down a team-high seven rebounds. Cosby notched 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting and 1-of-2 from three-point land. Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs) netted 10 of his own and tied Renner with seven boards.
Bluffton hit 27-of-54 (50 percent) from the field, including 7-of-20 (35 percent) from distance. Otterbein pulled down 34 rebounds, compared to the 33 by the home team.
Albion held off Baldwin Wallace 73-70 in an exciting matchup that pitted a pair of Coach Neal disciples manning the sidelines in Jody May (Albion) and Tom Heil (Baldwin Wallace).
Bluffton will be back in action on Sunday, Dec. 29, when the Beavers take on Baldwin Wallace in the final game of the holiday tournament. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.