FRANKLIN, Ind. – For the second time in their last three games, the Franklin College men's basketball team needed overtime to decide a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) contest, the most recent coming on Saturday afternoon against the Bluffton Beavers.
The Grizzlies (2-7, 1-3 HCAC) and Beavers (3-5, 2-2 HCAC) went back-and-forth with each other all afternoon inside the Spurlock Center, exchanging eight leads and 15 lead changes. In the end, the Grizzlies came up just short against the Beavers, falling 86-83 in extra time.
Senior John Beineke led all players with 29 points on 11-for-17 shooting, matching a career-high for the Indianapolis, Ind.-native. Kale Morris added 17 points and Danny Goggans chipped in with 13 points for Franklin on Saturday afternoon.
"We had a couple stretches where we had a chance to get control of things and it just didn't materialize for us tonight," Head coach Kerry Prather said after the game. "We told them after the game that this is the league. There are going to be lots of games where games are going to be tight until the end. We have to be able to lock those down and we feel like we're on the right path."
Both teams came out of the gate firing offensively and sat tied at 13 after five minutes of play. Back-to-back Bluffton buckets gave the Beavers a five-point lead, but a 12-0 Franklin run in response gave the Grizzlies a 25-18 lead with six minutes to play in the first half.
It was the largest lead of the opening 20 minutes for Franklin, as Bluffton would battle back to even up the game at 33 as the teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
Bluffton snatched control of the lead with a 12-3 run to open the second half, giving the Beavers their largest lead of the night at 45-36 with 16:36 left in the second half. The Grizzlies refused to go away, answering with a 12-2 run of their own, taking a 48-47 lead on a Sam Guteirrez layup with 13:47 on the clock.
The Beavers re-took the lead shortly after, and held on to a one-possession lead until the 5:32 mark when a Goggans layup tied things up at 62. The rest of regulation solved nothing, and the game headed to overtime tied, 72-72.
Bluffton took the lead on their first possession of the extra session thanks to a three from Jared Wentling, and the Grizzlies would play from behind the rest of the way. Franklin would get within 76-75 with a Goggans layup with 2:24 left, but Bluffton answered with a three-point play the next time down the floor to take a two-possession lead.
A three from Morris got the Grizzlies within a point at 81-80 with 51 seconds to play, but Bluffton answered with a bucket their next time down the floor. Down three with a under two seconds to play, Gutierrez' three-quarter court heave to tie the game hit the back of the rim as time expired.
The Grizzlies shot a season-best 53.2 percent (33-for-62) from the field on Saturday afternoon, connecting on 8-of-16 three-pointers and 9-of-17 free throws. The Beavers got 25 points from Andrew Hunter, connecting on 41.8 percent (28-for-67) of their field goal attempts as a team. Bluffton went 9-for-27 from long range and 21-for-30 from the free throw line.
Rebounds were 42-36 in favor of the Grizzlies. Goggans and Beineke tied for tops on the Grizzlies with nine boards each. Turnovers were 17-6 in favor of the Beavers, with Bluffton out-scoring Franklin 18-3 off turnovers.
The Grizzlies step out of conference play for each of their next two games, starting this coming Tuesday (Dec. 19) night when the Grizzlies hit the road to face Thomas More College. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.