By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
MEADVILLE, Pa. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team took advantage of four individuals in double figures as the Beavers notched a weekend split with an 80-77 victory over Pitt-Greensburg on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. Although Bluffton trailed 37-31 at the half, the Beavers used a 49-40 edge in the second stanza to knock off the Panthers in the Greg Richards Tournament for their first win (1-1) of the 2018-19 campaign!
With the game tied at 73 apiece, Aaron Rich (Greenville) drilled a crucial three-point shot that put the Beavers up 76-73 with 53 seconds to play. Following a Pitt-Greensburg miss from behind the arc, junior Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs) came down with a big rebound and he gave it to Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) who was fouled and split a pair of freebies. The Panthers would not go away, but the Beavers were clutch when it mattered, making 3-of-4 free throws in the closing seconds to seal the 80-77 victory.
Bluffton hit an early three early in the first stanza to take the lead, but struggled to find the bottom of the net for the next four minutes, going 1-for-5. With 14:54 remaining in the first half, freshman Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) cut the Panther lead to 9-5. The Beavers trailed by as many as eight during the first 20 minutes thanks to 12-of-32 shooting (37.5 percent) before Greensburg took a 37-31 lead into the break.
With their first-half shooting woes in the rearview mirror, the Beavers came out firing in the second period and finally took the lead at the 18-minute mark when Renner buried a triple to put Bluffton up 40-39. No team led by more than five the rest of the way as the action went back-and-forth until Rich put the Beavers up for good with less than one minute to play.
Renner led four Beavers in double digits with 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, including 3-for-7 outside the arc. He stuffed the stat sheet with a career-high seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. Cosby and sophomore Dezman Brown (Elyria) dropped in 16 points apiece for the victors. Brown picked up four steals and drained 3-of-6 triples, while Cosby ripped down eight boards and dished out three assists. Taylor added 10 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Bluffton hit 25-of-60 (41.7 percent) from the field, including a red-hot 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) from distance. Both teams pulled down 38 rebounds but Greensburg turned it over three more times (13-10). The Beavers also picked up nine steals, compared to just three for the visitors on the scoreboard.
Following their trip to Allegheny College, the Bluffton men return to the Sommer Center for their home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 21, when the Beavers welcome Hiram for a 7 p.m. tip.