The Buena Vista men's basketball is looking to win its fifth straight game overall, but the Beavers face a tough test on Saturday when UW-La Crosse (5-1) comes into Siebens Fieldhouse for a 7:00 p.m. contest.
Who: UW-La Crosse (5-1) @ Buena Vista (5-1)
When: Saturday, December 9 * 7:00pm
Where: Siebens Fieldhouse * Storm Lake, Iowa
Radio: 97.5FM KBVU
Live Audio Stream: www.kbvu.streamon.fm
Live Webstream: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/bvu/
Live Stats: http://www.bvuathletics.com/sports/mbkb/2017-18/boxscores/20171209_x5u7.xml
Inside the Series: Inside the Series: Today is the first meeting between the two teams since 2004-05 and the fourth match-up all-time. BVU was victorious in that contest 13 years ago, 71-61, which was played here in Storm Lake. The first-ever game was played in 1984-85 at La Crosse, Wis., where the Eagles won 81-77. The Eagles also picked up a 99-73 victory in 1991-92.
Last Time Out: The Beavers won their fourth straight game overall and remained perfect in leage play with a 94-84 home victory over Coe College last Saturday afternoon. Thomas Wisecup turned in a season-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists in the victory. Connor Winkelman scored 13 points and dished out a career-high eight assists. BVU shot 52.4 percent from the field and sank 20-of-23 from the free-throw line.
The Eagles bounced back from their first loss of the year by cruising to a 73-46 home victory last Saturday over Northland College (Wis.). Brendon Manning scored 14 points and had four steals as Jack Kortes scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds. Despite going just 5-of-26 from long range, the team still finished at 40 percent shooting from the field overall and made 14-of-17 at the charity stripe.
Sharp Shooters: The Beavers are third in the IIAC in field goal percentage (50.7 percent). A total of four players are currently shooting better than 50 percent from the field with six players better than 40 percent from downtown. Billy Sparks is averaging 2.8 three-point makes per game this season and currently ranks 26th in Division III at 53.6 percent. As a team, the Beavers are currently ranked sixth in Division III in three-point percentage at 44.1 percent (52-of-118).
Home Cookin': Buena Vista has had a great deal of success inside of Siebens Fieldhouse under head coach Brian Van Haaften In those 21+ years, BVU has gone 211-52.
Swimming in Depth: BVU plays a consistent 10-man rotation with all 10 players averaging better than 12.5 minutes per game. Nine of those 10 players are also averaging better than 5.5ppg with five of them hauling in over 3.5 rebounds per contest.
Starting Fast: Over the last three games, Buena Vista has chalked up 182 first half points and has led going into the break in five out of the first six games.
Putting Points on the Board: The Beavers, with the help of their 142 points scored against Greenville, are currently 19th in Division III in scoring (90.5ppg). They have scored at least 90 points in three straight games and have been over 80 in four of their first six contests.
About BVU: Over the last three games, BVU is averaging 109.0ppg and has reached 90 points in all three. The team is also third in the IIAC in field goal percentage at 50.7 percent, including a league-best 44.1 percent from downtown. David Jeffries is leading the team and is sixth in the league in scoring at 19.2ppg. He's shooting better than 62 percent from the field and from three-point range while making nearly 82 percent from the charity stripe. Thomas Wisecup, who poured in 24 points against the Kohawks, is third on the team in scoring (12.6ppg), first in rebounding (7.2rpg) and assists (4.8apg). Billy Sparks is second on the team in scoring (12.6ppg) and is averaging a team-leading 2.8 made three-point buckets per outing.
BVU, picked to finish seventh in the IIAC this season, is off to its best overall start to a year since beginning 14-1 back in 2008-09. This is the fourth straight Saturday home game for the team which, is 2-1, inside of Siebens Fieldhouse this season
About UW- La Crosse: Ben Meinholz has been the team's leading scorer in five of its first six games of 2017-18. The two-time Honorable Mention All-WIAC selection is the team's lone returning starter from a squad that finished 14-13 a year ago, including a 5-9 conference mark. Meinholz is the only player currently averaging double figures in scoring (16.0ppg) after ranking sixth in the WIAC a year ago at 14.8ppg. The Eagles do have a deep and balanced scoring attack with eight players averaging at least 6.0ppg. Brendon Manning, who scored a team-high 14 points last time out, is second behind Meinholz on the year (8.3ppg) while leading the way on the glass, pulling down 7.7rpg. Meinholz also has a team-high 19 assists and 18 steals
As a team, the Eagles are shooting 42.0 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from downtown. Tanner Bruchs has drilled a team-high 10 from downtown with Milton Cummings close behind at eight. The team is also grabbing 38.5 rebounds per game and are out-rebounding opponents by 3.0 per game. UW-La Crosse was picked to finish seventh in the WIAC this season.
Looking Ahead: Following Saturday's game, the Beavers will be off for finals week and will not return to the court until Monday, December 18 when it plays at Elmhurst College in a 7:00 p.m. contest. They'll then travel to Concodia (Ill.) to play a 7:00 p.m. game on Tuesday, December 19. The Eagles, meanwhile, will turn right around on Sunday, December 10, for a 5:00 p.m. tip-off at 15th-ranked Wartburg College.