DEFIANCE, OHIO – Second half struggles doomed the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday evening in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action against area rival Bluffton at the Karl H. Weaner Center, 78-50.
DC was led in the contest by junior Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) with a game-high 20 points and six rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets (7-15 overall, 5-10 HCAC) came out firing in the opening period as junior Lauren Rogers (Munger, Mich./Bay City Central) drained a three-pointer just seconds into the game to capture the early lead. Defiance would strike again minutes later as sophomore Shelby Stamm (Bellevue) hit a jumper in the lane to give DC the 5-4 lead with 8:03 to play in the first quarter.
Bluffton responded using a 10-0 run over the next five minutes to claim the 14-5 advantage with 3:33 remaining. The Purple and Gold cranked up the intensity as back-to-back scores by Ervin sparked a DC 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 14-11. Defiance continued to deem clutch on the offensive side of the court as senior Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) hit a jumper with one second remaining on the shot clock to close out the opening period trailing 16-13.
The two teams battled for much of the second period before a pair of free throws by Ervin knotted the game at 17-17 with 7:56 to play. The Beavers responded with a 9-0 run to push the advantage once more, 28-18. DC looked to get something going late in the period as Stamm and freshman Kalyn Pickens (Fort Wayne, Ind./R. Nelson Snider) both made their way to the free-throw line pulling the Yellow Jackets within 33-23 with just over a minute remaining. Bluffton would get the final say as a late foul put BU on top 34-25 at the break.
Defiance closed out the first half shooting 6-of-21 (28.6%) from the field and 12-for-14 (85.7%) from the charity stripe.
The Bluffton offense erupted early in the third quarter netting six straight points to extend its lead, 40-25. The Beavers carried the momentum onto the defensive side of the floor holding the Purple and Gold to just two points for much of the period. Senior Mekai White ended the drought with 2:25 to play as a three-pointer from the corner pulled DC within 56-31. However, BU went on to score the final six points of the period to claim the 62-31 advantage.
The Beavers carried the momentum over into the fourth period blowing the game wide open early using back-to-back scores at the 7:11 mark to claim the 68-37 lead. Defiance tried to get something going a White delivered another dagger with 3:23 to play in the contest but BU deemed to much as they held on for the 78-50 victory.
Defiance finished the contest shooting 12-for-45 (26.7%) from the field and 21-for-26 (80.8%) from the free throw line.
The Yellow Jackets return to action Saturday, February 10 as they welcome Transylvania University for Senior Day. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m.