February 10, 2016
By: Owen Lugibihl, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers battled Defiance College in a heated rivalry contest that went down to the wire on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Bluffton was unable to swat the Yellow Jackets in a tense overtime battle following their comeback late in regulation, falling 76-72. The game was decided by overtime free throws knocked in by several Yellow Jackets. With the loss, Bluffton dropped to 10-12 with a 5-10 mark in the HCAC, while the Yellow Jackets improved to 13-9 overall and 11-4 in the conference. The heartbreaking setback, coupled with other results from around the Heartland Conference, also eliminated Bluffton from contention for a berth in the six-team HCAC tournament slated for the week of Feb 22-28.
The crowd turnout was sensational for 'Hop on board' night as money raised from various activities during the games will be used to help junior Adam Hopkins (Wellington/Keystone) as he fights lymphoma. Thanks to everyone who played a part in helping to make the night a success.
Tyler Alexander drove the rock to the basket with authority and finished with a layup to put the Yellow Jackets up seven, 24-17, midway through the first stanza. The Beavers responded to the aggressive play of the Yellow Jackets, going on a 10-4 run which was capped off with a layup from Austin Rohde (Shelby), notching two of his game high 25 points. The physical battle between the two teams continued, with center Wade Wooley slamming down a powerful dunk and increasing the lead to 32-27 with 2:42 remaining. The Beavers, however, would not go away, pulling within two (34-32) going into the half following several free throws from senior Thayne Recker (Arlington).
The home team came out ready to play thanks to consecutive deep balls from sophomore guard Austin Terrill (Richwood/North Union) and seven Austin Rohde markers. The game was a back-and-forth battle, knotted at 55-55 with 6:55 remaining in the second stanza. Six consecutive points by forward Tyler Alexander pushed the Yellow Jacket lead to 61-55 with 4:23 remaining. The Beavers did not lose hope as they chipped away at the Yellow Jacket lead which stood at 65-61 with 1:31 remaining. With 36 ticks on the clock, Austin Rohde drilled a deep three to pull the game within one. Bluffton fouled with 10 seconds remaining as Alexander was wrapped up but converted the layin. Alexander missed the free throw and the Beavers streaked up court. Senior Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic) found Austin Rohde who drained a wild 30-footer with three seconds remaining to tie up the score (67-67) and send the game into overtime, while silencing the swarm of Yellow Jacket fans.
Defiance took the lead overtime early in the form of two quick buckets by Wooley and Alexander. Missed shots by Bluffton and free throws from the Yellow Jackets thwarted any Beaver comeback in OT as the visitors held on for the 76-72 victory.
The Beavers finished the contest 27-of-65 (41.5 percent) from the field and 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from deep. Bluffton also shot 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) from the charity stripe. Defiance College knocked down an impressive 30-of-58 (51.7 percent) from the field and 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from distance. They also missed five free throws, going 10-of-15 (66.7 percent). The two teams were even on the boards, tied at 33-33, but Bluffton grabbed a slight edge on assists, 16-15. The visitors committed three more turnovers (13-10) in the win.
Bluffton was led by junior guard Austin Rohde with a game high 25 points, on 11-of-21 shooting, including 2-of-6 from deep. Rohde also dished out three assists and came away with two steals. The Beavers had two others reach double digits, one of which was Thayne Recker who added 18 points and 10 boards, including 5-of-13 shooting from the floor and 8-of-13 shooting from the stripe. Recker moved up a spot on the all-time scoring list, taking over at fifth with 1,567 career tallies! Austin Terrill also pitched in 14, with a career-high tying four deep balls. Defiance finished with four in double figures, including 20 for Tyler Alexander and 16 fromBlake Dunbar.
The Beavers return to action at Copeland Court on Saturday, Feb. 13, in an HCAC battle against Anderson University. Senior Day tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. Come out and support the team! Go Beavers.