DEFIANCE, OHIO -- Senior guard Devin Mangas (Leipsic) connected on a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in regulation with the score tied which led to a 75-70 win for the Defiance College men's basketball team against Bluffton University in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
Defiance had two players score 20 or more points in seniors Chris Holmes (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and Michael Parker (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North). Holmes finished with a team-high 23 points on eight-of-15 shooting (53.3 percent) and Parker added 20 points on seven-of-15 shooting (46.7 percent).
Mangas ended the game with 13 points and freshman Payton Ross (Indianapolis, Ind./Arlington) pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Defiance (6-16, 5-10 HCAC) looked to make a statement early by jumping out a 12-5 advantage at the 16:21 mark of the first half following a jumper by Parker. The lead later grew to eight points, 16-8, before a 13-2 momentum swing by Bluffton (12-10, 5-10 HCAC) put the Beavers up by three points, 21-18, with 8:23 left in the period.
Bluffton continued its momentum and eventually increased its lead to double figures, 34-24, with 3:26 to play. The Beavers went on to post their largest lead of the half of 13 points on two occasions, including a 39-26 margin at the 1:40 mark. The Yellow Jackets gained a little momentum of their own just before the end of the half with five straight points on a bucket by Parker and a triple by Holmes to narrow the gap to 39-31 at the intermission.
The Bluffton lead hovered around the double-digit mark for the majority of the opening minutes of the second half and led by as many as 15 points twice, including a score of 60-45 with 11:30 remaining in the period. Defiance then began to make its run, outscoring Bluffton, 23-8, over the next eight minutes to tie the game and then took the lead on a Holmes jumper with a little more than a minute to go making the score 70-68.
The Beavers answered the Holmes basket on their next possession to even the game at 70-70. Mangas then connected on what turned out to be the game-winner from behind the arc with 13 seconds left. Bluffton missed on its game-tying attempt and Parker came down with the defensive rebound. Parker then sealed the victory with a pair of free-throws following a Bluffton foul with less than a second remaining, as DC went on to clinch the 75-70 final.
Defiance will travel to Lexington, Ky. for a HCAC matchup against Transylvania (Ky.) University with the Yellow Jacket women's team in a basketball doubleheader. The women will tip-off against the Pioneers at 1 p.m., followed by the men at 3 p.m.