By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team won a defensive showdown against HCAC-leading Rose-Hulman, 55-49, on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Despite the Beavers holding an 11-point lead at the break, the Engineers made a late surge and cut their deficit to one when Craig McGee hit a layup with 4:23 left in the game. The Beavers responded with eight straight points to secure the victory. Bluffton improved to 12-3 overall and tied for first at 6-2 in the Heartland Conference, while Rose-Hulman slipped to 10-5 overall and 6-2 in the HCAC.
Bluffton came out firing in the first stanza and freshman Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) pushed the lead to 16-7 when he completed his second old-fashioned three-point play in the first seven minutes of the game. The home team took its largest lead when Cosby made a driving layup with 15 seconds on the clock, putting the Beavers up 33-22 going into the break. Defense was the story as Bluffton held Rose to 21-of-61 from the field for 34.4 percent shooting on the afternoon.
With the Engineers making a late surge that saw the Beaver lead cut to one, sophomore Aaron Rich (Greenville) hit a clutch jumper that made it 45-42 with 3:05 left in the contest. A pair of free throws by junior Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs) would all but seal the Beaver victory with 11 ticks remaining.
Bluffton was led by Rich and junior Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) who both netted 17 on a combined 15-of-30 from the field, including 2-of-8 from behind the arc. Renner also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds in the victory. Cosby dropped in 13 of his own on 5-of-10 from the field, including nine during a three-minute span in the first half. Taylor and Rich ripped down eight and six boards, respectively, while Renner and Brown chalked up three steals apiece.
The Beavers shot 22-of-52 from the field for 42.3 percent, but just 3-of-13 for 23.1 percent from three-point land. The home team was perfect from the charity stripe, going 8-of-8 for 100 percent. Bluffton pulled down five more rebounds (30-25), but it turned the ball over one more time (15-14).
Bluffton will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 16, when they travel to Manchester University to wrap up round round of Heartland Conference play locked in a four-way tie for first place with Rose, Hanover and Transylvania! The game will tip at 7:30 p.m.