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Beavers struggle in 98-68 loss at Hiram

By Takayla Gadberry, sports information alumna

HIRAM, Ohio – The Bluffton University men's basketball team traveled to Northeast Ohio on Saturday, Nov. 20, but came up short with a 98-68 loss at Hiram College. The Beavers dropped to 0-3 on the season, while the Terriers improved to 2-2.

Hiram came out blazing with a 21-4 run to start off the contest. Two freebies apiece for Brady Wheeler (Lima/Shawnee) and Kegan Owen (Indianapolis, IN/Greenwood) cut the Beaver deficit to 13 (21-8). Bluffton struggled mightily as the Terriers continued to drop in shots for a 42-18 score with 4:59 to play in the first half. Two more shots for Wheeler followed by two free throws brought the score to 55-24. Miguel Ringer (Cincinnati/Cincinnati Christian) drained a deuce and a free throw as the scoreboard read 57-27 when both teams headed to the lockers at the half.

The Beavers netted the first two shots of the second half when Michael Stammen (Versailles) made a layup and Owen hit a triple, cutting the Terrier lead to 25 (57-32). It was a solid offensive half for the Beavers, but Hiram stayed hot as well, increasing their spread to 70-44 with 15:45 left in regulation. Owen hit another shot from beyond the arc, helping trim the Terrier lead to 24 (75-51). It wasn't long before Hiram went on a 10-3 run (85-54) and eventually capped off their 98-68 victory.

Wheeler led the Beaver offense with a career-best 18 points. Owen was right behind him, putting 15 on the board. JD Stokes (West Harrison, IN/Franklin County) powered the defense with four boards. Marcus Bruns (Coldwater) and Stammen were one off his pace with three rebounds apiece.

The Beavers shot 27-of-62 (43.5 percent) from the field and 5-of-20 (25 percent) from three-point land. The Terriers were an outstanding 35-of-61 (57.4 percent) from the field and even better at 12-of-20 (60 percent) from distance. Both teams fared well at the charity stripe with Bluffton hitting 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) and Hiram netting 16-of-19 (84.2 percent.) The Terriers pulled down 13 more boards (34-21) but also turned the ball over two more times (14-12). Bluffton tallied 30 points in the paint, compared to 44 for the home team.

The men are back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 22, when they welcome Alma College to the Sommer Center. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. following the women's 5 p.m. matchup with Heidelberg.