Sophomore Canyon Hopkins was 8-of-11 from the field en route to a career-high 17 points, as he helped Buena Vista overcome a slow start on Monday night to come back and win on the road at Elmhurst College, 74-66, to begin the holiday break.
Hopkins scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and was also one off of a career-best with seven boards. BVU was held to a season-low 18 first half points before it caught fire from the field over the final 20 minutes. After going just 3-of-19 from downtown to start the game, the Beavers finished strong by drilling 6-of-11 attempts in the second half. The team came in ranked in the top-10 nationally in three-point percentage.
Sophomore Billy Sparks was 4-of-9 from long range and finished with 12 points as Timothy Jeffries added 10 points. Senior Thomas Wisecup was held to just eight points, but he put together another solid all-around game by grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists. David Jeffries scored nine points, grabbed five boards and dished out six dimes.
The Beavers shot just 19 percent from the field in the first half before bouncing back by making 64 percent in the second half. The team also made 9-of-11 free-throw attempts overall.
After the slow start, BVU put together a strong defensive effort over the second half and was able to get out in transition frequently. The team took advantage of that by holding a commanding 24-2 margin in fast break points.
Neither team was clicking offensively in the first half with the Bluejays shooting under 28 percent overall. They did, however, post their largest lead of the contest at 12 with 30 seconds left in the opening half before Wisecup helped trim the deficit with a three-point bucket with eight seconds left in the period.
That shot was a momentum builder for BVU which began the second half on an 11-2 run to tie things at 29-29 just 4:30 into play. The game was again tied at 39-39 with just over 11:00 to go, and that's when the Beavers began to seize control. David Jeffries found his brother in transition for a fast break layup and a six-point lead forcing an Elmhurst timeout. The Bluejays responded with a brief spurt that put them back in front at 46-45, but the Beavers took the lead for good at 50-48 with a layup from Hopkins. Wisecup's layup gave BVU a nine-point cushion at 60-51 forcing another Elmhurst timeout.
BVU led by as many as 11 in the contest but the Bluejays (5-3) were able to stay within striking distance throughout. BVU connected on its free-throws inside the final minute to help keep the margin above six.
Buena Vista is now 6-2 on the year and knocks off Elmhurst on the road for the second straight year. It now looks to make it back-to-back wins overall this season when it travels to Concordia University-Chicago on Tuesday night for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off against the Cougars (1-7) who have dropped five straight.