BLUFFTON, OHIO -- Defiance College senior men's basketball player Michael Parker (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) scored his 1,000th collegiate point despite the Yellow Jackets falling to Bluffton University, 58-55, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game in Bluffton, Ohio.
Parker, who began his collegiate career at Earlham (Ind.) College, scored 237 points as a freshman for the Quakers. In three seasons as a member of the Defiance men's team, Parker entered his final season with 751 points and with his team-leading 229 points so far this year, including a team-high 19 points tonight against the Beavers, Parker has now scored a combined 1,007 career points.
Parker shot six-of-20 (30.0 percent) for the game with five of his six makes coming from three-point range (five-of-15 overall). Freshman Payton Ross (Indianapolis, Ind./Arlington) was second in scoring with nine points. Senior Javone Hilliard (Indianapolis, Ind./Arsenal Tech) made an impact for the Jackets on the boards with a game and career-high 10 rebounds.
As a team, DC had a cool shooting night overall with a 37.3 percentage (22-of-59), but struggled from long range at 30.4 percent (seven-of-23) and converted 50.0 percent (four-of-eight) of its attempts at the free-throw line.
Senior Devin Mangas (Leipsic) began the scoring with a bucket to give Defiance (4-12, 3-6 HCAC) the early lead. Bluffton (9-6, 2-6 HCAC) then scored five straight points to take the lead and never trailed in the half the rest of the way. Neither team shot very well in the early minutes of the period as the two teams combined for 13 points at the 14:01 mark with the Beavers leading by a slim, 7-6, margin.
Bluffton then got a bit of breathing room with six unanswered points to increase the margin to seven points, 13-6, with 11:14 remaining before halftime. DC later made it a one-possession game, 15-13, following a tip-in by Hilliard with 5:31 to go. The Beavers regained control with an ensuing 7-0 scoring run to go up by nine points, 22-13. The Beavers went on to record their first double-digit lead of the gaem with 1:47 on the clock, 26-15, en route to taking their largest margin of the half of 12 points into the locker rooms with a halftime score of 28-16.
Leading by seven points, 32-25, at the 16:09 mark of the second half, Bluffton began to pull away with a 9-0 run that increased the margin to 16 points, 41-25, with 13:36 to go in the game. Following an ensuing three-pointer by sophomore Randall Aikins, Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth), Bluffton answered with a triple of its own to net its largest lead of the game of 17 points, 44-27, just under 13 minutes left.
Defiance then began its rally, scoring eight unanswered points to begin a 23-4 run which resulted in a two-point lead for the Jackets, 50-48, at the 6:42 mark. But the Beavers answered again, this time with an 8-0 run to regain the lead, 56-50, with under three minutes in the game. The Yellow Jackets got back to within three points, 58-55, after a lay-in by Ross at the 1:21 mark, but those would be the final points of the contest as both teams went scoreless the final 1:21 allowing Bluffton to hang on for the 58-55 final.
Defiance will host Mount St. Joseph University in a basketball doubleheader with the Jacket women's team on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Karl H. Weaner Center. The women will tip-off against the Lions at 1 p.m., followed by the men at 3 p.m.