Men’s squad leads but doesn’t hang on

Special to the Daily Journal

The Franklin College men’s basketball team had five players in double- figures but could not overcome timely outside shooting in a 74-68 loss to Bluffton University in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action Saturday at the Spurlock Center.

Juniors Aaron Mann and Robbie Prather each scored 15 points to lead the offensive attack. Seniors Matt Niehoff and Trae Washington joined junior John Beineke in scoring 10 points.

Bluffton (8-3, 3-1 HCAC) connected on 4 of 6 3-point field-goal attempts in the second half. Trey Elchert tied the game at 60-all with a 3-pointer at the 5:28 mark.

Franklin used a 13-4 run early in the first half to take a 16-12 advantage after a 3-point field goal by Prather. The lead reached eight points, 21-13, following a layup by junior Trey Boles at the 10:26 mark of the first half.

Later in the period, a layup by Niehoff gave Franklin a 29-22 lead with 6:15 left.

The Grizzlies led 39-38 at halftime after Bluffton’s Billy Taflinger scored five points in the final 31 seconds of the first half.

Franklin opened the second half on an 8-2 run to take a 47-40 lead after a jumper by Beineke with 16:45 left.

Bluffton tied the game at 52-all after a 3-pointer by Austin Terrill at the 12:12 mark.

The teams battled back and forth, with the largest lead at three points until a layup by Austin Rohde gave the visitors a 69-64 advantage with 2:29 left.

Consecutive layups by Boles and Prather got Franklin within two points, 70-68, with 39 seconds left. Bluffton sealed the victory when Thayne Recker converted a layup with 12 seconds left.

The basket gave the Beavers a 72-68 lead. Two additional free throws by Taflinger pushed the final margin to six points.

Franklin (1-10, 1-3) returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, when it hosts Manchester University at Spurlock Center.