Despite a last-second flurry, the Defiance College men’s hoops team came up short of a win against rival Bluffton, falling for the fourth consecutive time on Wednesday in a 68-64 heartbreaker at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
A back-and-forth first half saw the Jackets (7-5, 2-3 HCAC) lead for the first 10 minutes of the contest, building a 14-10 advantage. However, the rival Beavers (7-5, 3-2 HCAC) ripped off an 13-1 run to seize advantage, running up a 23-15 lead with 8:13 to go until halftime following a Jameel Cosby layup.
The lead swelled to as much as 13 following an Andrew Renner 3-pointer before buckets from Sean Tyson and David Perkins brought things back to earth in the late goings of the half.
Down 37-30 at the break, the Jackets continued to claw back into the game. Renner’s layup at the 14-minute mark put Bluffton up 10 points before Avonte Jones hit a trey and a jumper, followed by a Marell Jordan trey and Owen Hiegel jumper tied things up at 49 with 11:33 left in regulation. DC finally took a 50-49 lead on a David Perkins free throw following a nearly two-minut scoring drought by both sides.
The final two minutes saw a scoring flurry with Jones hitting a jumper, followed by a Zeddie Pollock trey for Bluffton, then followed by a triple from Jones to keep DC in it at 65-63 with 1:27 to go.
A Jameel Cosby freebie with just 13 seconds left put Bluffton up 66-63 and induced a DC timeout. Out of the break, Tyson was fouled in the double bonus before a shot could be sent up and split two free throws with five seconds left to cut the Beaver lead to 66-64. Dezman Brown, however, came up clutch with less than four ticks left, hitting two key free throws to seal the result.
Renner led four players in double figures for the Beavers as the Lima Bath product poured in 22 points while Isaiah Taylor added 13 points and 10 boards. Cosby netted 15 while Brown scored 10.
For Defiance, Ottawa-Glandorf product Owen Hiegel’s 14 points led the way while Jones chipped in 13 and David Perkins put up 11 points and nine boards off the bench. Tyson added 11 points and five assists.
DC will keep up its HCAC journey Saturday, traveling to Transylvania for a 3 p.m. tipoff.
BLUFFTON (68) – James 0; Cosby 15; Renner 22; Brown 10; Taylor 13; Pollock 6; C. Kinnaird 0; J. Kinnaird 2. Totals 25-59 10-13 68.
DEFIANCE (64) – Hiegel 14; Tyson 11; Jordan 9; Andrew 1; Cox 5; Perkins 11; Jones 13; Glock 0; Kolar 0. Totals 24-54 10-21 64.
Three-point goals: Bluffton 8-23 (Renner 2-7, Pollock 2-5, Cosby 2-4, Brown 2-4, Taylor 0-1), Defiance 6-17 (Hiegel 2-4, Jones 2-3, Tyson 1-4, Jordan 1-3, Kolar 0-2, Andrew 0-1). Rebounds: Bluffton 40 (Taylor 10), Defiance 33 (Perkins 9). Turnovers: Bluffton 10, Defiance 8.
Bluffton 37 31 — 68
Defiance 30 34 — 64