DEFIANCE, OHIO – Men's basketball dropped a tough Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference battle on Wednesday evening at the Karl H. Weaner Center, falling to area rival Bluffton 85-65.
The Yellow Jackets (3-19 overall, 2-13 HCAC) were led in the contest by freshman Kiewuan Graham (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) with a team-high 18 points.
Bluffton came out hot in the opening half capturing the early 13-4 advantage following a three-pointer at the 14:58 minute mark. Defiance looked to respond as freshman Demoines Whitney (Detroit, Mich./Western) connected for back-to-back scores including a momentum shifting dunk with 12:26 to play, 17-12. However, the Beavers remained red hot from behind the arc as another three-pointer minutes later pushed the lead to double digits, 27-15. BU finished the half shooting 7-of-13 (53.8%) from behind the arc en route to the 48-30 advantage at the half.
The Purple and Gold looked to attack in the second half as back-to-back scores by Whitney and junior Allante Wheeler (Canton, Mich.) cut the deficit to 48-34. Bluffton wasted little time responding as they strung together a series of scores to extend the lead with 14:38 to play, 58-39. Graham tried to steal the momentum back for DC as he drained a three-pointer in the corner followed by a runner in the lane with 12:49 remaining in the contest, 62-44. With ten minutes to play, Whitney would find a way to score for the Purple and Gold as he connected in the paint pulling DC within 68-49. Defiance tried to make a run late as freshman Elijah Pennington navigated the defense for the jumper in the lane. The BU offense continued to provide clutch as they were able to seal the victory.
The Yellow Jackets return to action Saturday, February 10 as they celebrate Senior Day against Transylvania University. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.