By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team played host to Transylvania University in a Heartland Conference tilt on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. After dropping their last contest before the new year, the Beavers were looking to get back in the win column and they did just that. Bluffton downed the Pioneers 87-78 in what was a very physical matchup between the HCAC rivals.
After trading baskets, Transy would take a six-point lead when Dominique Turner got to the hole to make it 12-6 in favor of the visitors. Bluffton answered back when Jerred Kinnaird (Lewis Center/Olentangy) tipped one in to put the Beavers up 18-15 midway through the first half. The Beavers led the rest of the way, collecting a huge conference win over the pre-season favorites!
Bluffton found themselves in a 13-9 hole when Transylvania's Spencer Hemmerich split a pair of free throws with 12:03 left in the first stanza. But, the Beavers did not cave in and they climbed back to take a lead when Isaiah Taylor (YellowSprings) drained a pair of free throws to make it 20-15 in favor of the good guys. The home team controlled much of the first half, but the Pioneers would drain a three-point shot as time expired to cut their deficit to 45-34 at the break.
The home team continued their hot shooting into the second half when Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) extended the lead to 49-36 with just under 18 minutes left in the game. The Pioneers would score at the 15:54 mark and then a scoreless stretch was finally snapped when Gabe Schmitt knocked a jumper down to make it 53-48 with 13 minutes to play.
Transy trimmed the Bluffton lead to three when Schmitt drained a pair of free throws to make it 53-50 with just over 12 minutes left . However, the Beavers regrouped and put their foot back on the pedal, pulling away from the Pioneers while securing an 87-78 victory.
Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) led the way for the victors with 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting while also pulling down a team-high nine rebounds for the Beavers. He stands just 15 points away from 1,000 for his career! The star of the game was Zeddie Pollock (Mogodore) who poured in a career-high 23 points on 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point land after scoring nine through his first 10 games! Dezman Brown (Elyria) dropped in 18 points of his own, going 4-of-8 from three. Cosby finished with seven points, seven rebounds and four assists. Renner dished out five dimes and Brown handed out four helpers.
Bluffton hit 28-of-52 (53.8 percent) from the field, including a red-hot 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) from distance. The home team pulled down 35 rebounds in the win, compared to 26 for the Pioneers. Bluffton turned the ball over 10 times, two more miscues than Transy.
Bluffton will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 8, when the Beavers travel to Defiance College to take on the arch-rival Yellow Jackets in a mid-week conference tilt. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. following the women's game.