By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team fought off Transylvania University for a huge 63-52 Heartland Conference win at the Sommer Center on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Beavers never trailed by more than four during the contest, and they scratched and clawed their way to a well-played victory.
A layup by freshman Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) with 4:32 left in the contest put Bluffton up 54-50, but the Beavers went scoreless the next two plus minutes before Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) found sophomore Dezman Brown (Elyria) on a slick back cut to the hoop that all but sealed the outcome with the Beavers up 61-52 and just 1:10 to play! Bluffton improved to 13-4 overall and 7-3 in the Heartland Conference, while Transylvania fell to 10-7 and 7-3 in the HCAC.
A low-scoring first half came to a close when Cosby knocked down a pair from the free throw line with six ticks remaining, giving the home team a 28-25 lead at the break.
An early Cosby layup in the second half extended Bluffton's lead to 30-25. With 11:47 left in the game, the Pioneers knotted the score at 41 on a pair of free throws by Spencer McKinney. The Beavers, however, did not budge and a layin by Renner with 1:59 to play would push the spread to 58-51, ending any hopes of a miracle comeback by the Pioneers.
Cosby led the way, dropping in a game-high 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 1-of-1 from behind the arc. He also came down with five rebounds in the victory. Junior Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs) netted 16 of his own, all in the first half, going a very efficient 8-of-10 from the field, and he pulled down four rebounds as well. Renner struggled to find his stroke, but he made up for it with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. Brown and Brevin Dye (Bedford Heights/Trinity) chipped in with nine and seven counters, respectively, while sophomore Ronnie James (Twinsburg/Benedictine) doled out four dimes.
The Beavers hit 24-of-51 from the field for 47.1 percent, compared to 17-of-49 (34.7 percent) for the Pioneers. Bluffton went 3-of-9 from three-point land for 33.3 percent while the Pioneers were 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from behind the arc. The Pioneers turned the ball over 15 times, compared to just 12 for the Beavers. Bluffton pulled down three more rebounds (33-30) than the visitors.
The men will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 23, when they play host to the Earlham College Quakers in a Heartland Conference matchup. Tip-off in the Sommer Center is slated for 7:30 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!