Bluffton blows out No. 14 Transylvania
Beavers win regular season finale to drop ranked Pioneers
BLUFFTON, Ohio -- Ethan Spurlin poured in a game-high 24 points Saturday, but it wasn't enough to help Transylvania spoil Bluffton's Senior Day as the Beavers took an 83-65 win against the Pioneers in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Pioneers, ranked No. 14 in the nation and No. 3 in the region, drop to 22-3, 16-2 in Heartland Conference play, while the Beavers are 16-9, 10-8 HCAC. Transy lost for the first time since Jan. 7 and saw its 11-game win streak come to an end.
While Transy had already clinched its fourth HCAC regular season title and will host next weekend's conference tournament, Bluffton needed a win to ensure a spot in postseason play.
Bluffton had a narrow 31-27 lead at halftime after hitting 11 of 20 shots from the field and holding a 6-1 advantage at the free throw line. Spurlin led the Pioneers with 14 points and Tate Cox and Barrett Meyer added five apiece. Brandon Rash was hit with two early fouls and did not score.
Transy was 11 of 29 from the field in the first half.
Bluffton finished the game shooting 62 percent from the field and had five players in double figures, led by Mychal Hill's 21. Meyer had 11 points and three rebounds for Transy and Chris Owens had five points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior Michael Stone had six points and two rebounds off the bench.
Rash finished with three points and three rebounds before fouling out. He enters postseason play 939 points. The Pioneers shot 37.5 percent from the field, including nine of 25 from three-point range.
Quarterfinal tournament games will get underway Friday at 6 p.m. at the Beck Center with semifinal contests on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Transy will play in the second semifinal contest at 7 p.m. The HCAC Tourney championship game will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Defiance plays Rose-Hulman in the first game Friday with Anderson taking on Bluffton in the second. Hanover, the No. 2 seed, will meet the winner between Defiance and Rose-Hulman at 5 p.m. on Saturday with Transy drawing the winner of the Anderson-Bluffton matchup.
The Pioneers are looking for their first NCAA tournament bid since 2009.