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Strong second half propels Kalamazoo to 71-67 victory

Strong second half propels Kalamazoo to 71-67 victory

By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Bluffton University men's basketball team traveled to Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday, Nov. 20, to take on the Kalamazoo College Hornets in a non-conference matchup. Unfortunately for the Beavers, they finished on the wrong end of a tight game that resulted in 71-67 loss. Bluffton dipped to 1-2 overall, while Kalamazoo improved to 2-2 overall on the season.

With 3:23 left in the contest, sophomore Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) would lay one in for the Beavers, making the score 66-63 in favor of Bluffton. Kalamazoo responded with a five-point spurt to take 68-66 lead with 1:27 left after a missed Bluffton opportunity at the stripe. Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) drew a foul with 12 seconds remaining and would have a chance to tie things up. Unfortunately, he split the pair and that was all it took for the Hornets to seal their 71-67 victory over the Beavers.

While the first few minutes of the game were back and forth, Bluffton started to pull away when Renner drilled a three pointer to make it 16-9 with 14:33 in the first half. The Beavers would see that lead evaporate when Kalamazoo's Ben Reiter nailed a triple try to take their first lead (28-26) since the opening bucket of the contest. Bluffton answered back to take a 38-34 lead at the break.

Bluffton stayed on top for the first nine minutes of the second half until Kalamazoo's Reiter converted a pair of free throws to take the lead at 54-53 with 11:07 to play. It was neck and neck the whole way down the stretch, but Kalamazoo got it done for the 71-67 victory on Wednesday night.

Renner paced the Beavers with 21 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Dezman Brown (Elyria) also notched double figures with 13 points on 3-of-7 from distance. Aaron Rich (Greenville), Isaiah Taylor (Yellow Springs), Jerred Kinnaird (Lewis Center/Olentangy) and Brown all dished out two assists for the visitors.

Bluffton hit 26-of-53 (49.1 percent), including 8-of-20 (40 percent) from distance. The Beavers pulled down 38 rebounds, compared to 27 for the home Hornets.

Bluffton will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 23, when the Beavers play host to Heidelberg University. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m in the Sommer Center.