Sophomore Canyon Hopkins turned in a team-high 16 points to lead five players in double figures on Wednesday night, as the Buena Vista men's basketball team used a strong second half surge to pick up a 77-66 home victory over Wartburg College.
The Knights led 36-35 at the break and continued to lead 49-47 seven minutes into the second before BVU responded with a 9-0 run to give the Beavers a 56-49 lead with under 10 minutes to play. Connor Winkelman and Timothy Jeffries hit back-to-back three-pointers to extend the margin up to 63-51. The Knights went eight minutes without a field goal before a three-pointer with 5:45 to go put an end to the BVU surge and kept the team in the game.
The Beavers weren't able to quite put Wartburg away, and the Knights got another three-pointer from Cam Kickbush with just over three minutes left to pull them back within single digits at 69-60.
Sophomore Billy Sparks made sure things didn't get any closer as he drilled a three of his own with 2:11 to play to push the lead back to 72-60. Thomas Wisecup, who finished with 12 points and eight assists, drilled the final dagger for a 15-point lead in the closing minutes.
BVU also got a nice boost off the bench from freshman Michael Demers, who scored a career-high eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists while playing a career-high 15 minutes. Sparks finished with 10 points as the Beavers avenged a 20-point loss earlier this month.
Kickbush led all scorers with 19 points for Wartburg, including 5-of-10 from long range. The Knights (12-8, 5-6 IIAC) went 11-of-27 from behind the arc and shot 41 percent from the field overall.
Buena Vista had another stellar shooting night going 11-of-24 from long distance and 54.2 percent overall. The team only attempted three free-throws in the contest and made two while the Knights went 9-of-10.
The Beavers push their overall record to 16-5 with the win (9-3 IIAC). They remain in a three-way tie atop the league standings with Loras and Nebraska Wesleyan and will now host the Prairie Wolves and go after the season sweep on Saturday afternoon at 6:00 p.m. It's also Alumni Day with the annual Alumni vs. JV game slated to tip-off at 1:30 p.m.