David Jeffries turned in 21 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds to help lead the Buena Vista men's basketball team to a thrilling 71-70 road victory at Luther College on Saturday afternoon to wrap up the regular season.
Jeffries had the hot hand all game long for the Beavers, finishing 8-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-3 from downtown. Sophomore Billy Sparks was feeling it from long range by hitting 4-of-8 treys and finishing with 13 points. Canyon Hopkins chipped in with 10 points.
Buena Vista made 10-of-25 from downtown (40.5 percent) and also made 9-of-12 from the free-throw line. It held a slim 38-34 edge on the glass and turned the ball over just seven times.
Luther held a 30-29 lead with under seven minutes left in the first half before the Beavers finished the first 20 minutes on a 13-4 run, capped by a Thomas Wisecup three with 30 seconds left, to take a 42-34 lead into the break.
BVU scored the first eight points to start the second half and quickly built a 16-point lead. Wisecup hit his second three-pointer of the game and Michael Demers followed with a layup to give the team its largest lead of the afternoon at 61-41 with 14:41 left.
From there, the Beavers scored just two points over the next eight minutes as the Norse cut the lead down to just five at 63-58 with seven minutes to go. A three-point play from Sparks pushed the margin back to nine with under five minutes in regulation before Luther nailed a couple of three-point shots to aid an 8-0 run over the next three minutes.
Timothy Jeffries made a pair of free-throws with 2:19 on the clock for a 71-68 lead, and that proved to be the final two points BVU scored the rest of the way.
Luther missed its next three shot attempts before a layup with 31 seconds left made it a one-point game. After a timeout, Luther then came out with a quick foul but Wisecup missed the front-end of the 1-and-1 and the Norse still had life. The Norse came up empty on their three-point attempt with 25 ticks left, and David Jeffries grabbed the rebound as Luther again fouled quickly. After a BVU timeout, Jeffries missed his only free-throw of the game as Luther (5-20, 0-16 IIAC) had one final chance with five seconds left but its three-point attempt didn't fall as time expired and it came up short of its first league victory of the year.
The win snapped BVU's three-game losing skid and pushes its record to 17-8 overall (10-6 IIAC). The team is the third-seed into next week's Iowa Conference Tournament and will host sixth-seed Central College on Tuesday night (Feb. 20) at 7:00 p.m. The winner will then advance to the semfinals on February 22 at second-seed Loras College.