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Men battle before falling 86-81 at Anderson

February 10, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant


ANDERSON, Ind. - The Bluffton University men’s basketball squad hit the road and challenged the Anderson University Ravens in a huge HCAC battle. The Beavers jumped on top early, but a strong second half for the Ravens was too much for Bluffton as the visitors fell by an 86-81 count. The loss dropped the Beavers to 10-13 and 7-9 in the HCAC. Anderson improved to 12-11 and 7-9 in the conference

After trading baskets to start the game, the Beavers went on a 7-2 run that featured an ANDREW HUNTER (Arlington) triple to put them up 11-6. RONNIE JAMES (Twinsburg/Benedictine) followed with four consecutive points for Bluffton before DEZMAN BROWN (Elyria) knocked down a pair of free throws to put the visitors up 19-8 with 13:27 left in the half.

The Ravens would fight back, going on a 13-7 spurt to cut the gap to 25-21. Bluffton jumped ahead 33-26 following a rare four-point play by KEVIN CHRISTIE (Dayton/Bishop Fenwick) at the 5:52 mark of the first half. Leading 35-32, the Beavers outscored Anderson 9-4 in the final 3:31 of the first half to lead 44-36 at the break.

The Ravens opened the second half on a 15-4 spurt to take a 51-50 advantage with 14:37 left in regulation. After back-and-forth action for most of the half, Anderson took a 71-65 lead after a three by Trevor Lucas. However, Bluffton knotted the game up at 71 after back-to-back layups by JUSTIS DOWDY (Van Wert/Lincolnview) and a steal and a lay-in by ANDREW RENNER (Cairo/Bath). The Ravens answered with five straight points before Andrew Renner dialed long distance to make it 76-74. After Anderson pushed it to a six-point lead, Renner drilled another triple with 24 seconds left in regulation, cutting the gap to 82-79. Anderson continued its smooth shooting at the free throw line, hitting four more to seal its 86-81 victory and season sweep of the Beavers.

Four from Bluffton scored in double-figures with Justis Dowdy bucketing a career-high tying 17 while Andrew Renner added 15 on a perfect 2-for-2 from downtown. Kevin Christie got into the action collecting 13 points while also contributing eight assists. Freshman MAX GLASS (North Royalton) notched a career high, tallying 11 points to go along with five rebounds. Anderson had three starters score over 20 points, led by 28 from Trevor Lucas.

It was a tale of two halves as Bluffton was outscored 50-37 in the second period after leading 44-36 following 20 minutes of action. Shooting 50 percent for the game on 31-of-62 from the field, the Beavers allowed the Ravens to go 23-of-41 (56.1 percent) from the floor, including a red-hot 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from behind the arc. Anderson was nearly perfect at the line, converting 33-of-36 (91.7 percent), but Bluffton won the rebounding battle, 29-24.

The Beavers will finish their three-game road swing on Wednesday, Feb. 14, as they get set to play Manchester University at 7:30 p.m.