The Buena Vista men's basketball team returns home on Saturday afternoon as the Beavers will host last year's co-regular season champion, Loras College, in a key Iowa Conference match-up inside of Siebens Fieldhouse.
Who: Loras (11-4, 4-2 IIAC) @ Buena Vista (12-2, 5-0 IIAC)
When: Saturday, January 13 * 4:00pm
Where: Siebens Fieldhouse * Storm Lake, Iowa
Radio Broadcast: 97.5 FM KBVU
Live Webstream: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/bvu/
Live Stats: http://bvuathletics.com/sports/mbkb/2017-18/boxscores/20180113_guxi.xml
-- Win Streak: Buena Vista enters the game with the conference's longest current overall win streak (7). It's the third-longest streak in the league this season (Nebraska Wesleyan, 11; Wartburg, 9).
-- Sharp Shooters: The Beavers are currently ranked fourth in Division III in three-point percentage at 42.2 percent (130-of-308). Billy Sparks is 21st at 49.2 percent.
-- Dishin' the Rock: BVU is also among the top teams in the country when it comes to sharing the ball. The team is ranked ninth in Division III in assists per game (19.1) and 20th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.39). Thomas Wisecup is 13th in that category, individually (3.56).
-- Swimming in Depth: BVU plays a consistent 10-man rotation with all 10 players averaging better than 11.0 minutes per game. Seven of those 10 players are also shooting better than 43 percent from the field with five of them dishing out at least 2.0 assists per game.
-- Putting Points on the Board: The Beavers enter tonight's game with a 11-1 record this season when scoring at least 80 points. Their only loss was a narrow 84-80 setback against UW-La Crosse.
-- Strong IIAC Start: The Beavers are going after a 6-0 start to the their conference campaign which would match the team's best start since also going 6-0 in 2008-09 (finished 15-1). In the first five league games, BVU has scored at least 90 points in each one and currently ranks second behind Nebraska Wesleyan at 93.0ppg.
-- Scoring in bunches: BVU has been no stranger of putting points on the board in a hurry. So far this season, the Beavers have seven different halves in which they have scored at least 50 points.
-- Triple Effect: BVU senior Thomas Wisecup enters Wednesday's game having made 134 three-point baskets in his career which ranks 12th all-time. He is just two makes away from 10th on the list (Shane Steele; 1990-92). He went over 800 career points during the win over the Spartans, and just last week went over 200 career assists which ranks 16th.
Inside the Series: Saturday is the 77th meeting all-time in a series that began in 1939-40. BVU holds a 43-33 advantage in the all-time record but Loras has won three of the last four, including a 71-70 victory here in Storm Lake last season. The last three match-up have been decided by a combined five points.
Last Time Out: The Beavers picked up their seventh straight victory overall on Wednesday night with a 96-87 road win at the University of Dubuque. David Jeffries scored 21 points and went a perfect 7-of-7 from the field while Thomas Wisecup followed with 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists. Adam Juhl came off the bench and scored six points and grabbed both a game-high and career-high 11 rebounds.
The Duhawks have won six of their last seven games overall, including a thrilling 97-87 overtime home victory over Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday night. Josh Ruggles led the team with 20 points as Ryan DiCanio recorded a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
About BVU: The Beavers are off to their best start to a conference campaign since beginning 6-0 back in 2008-09. David Jeffries is leading the team in scoring (16.9ppg) and has upped that average to 19.2ppg during conference play which ranks fifth. He is also shooting better than 77 percent from the field against league foes, is averaging a league-best 2.0 steals per game and is 8-for-10 from downtown. Wisecup is averaging 13.8ppg during conference play, is tied for third in rebounding (6.8rpg), is second in assists (4.8apg) and is fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0). Matthew Goodman, who came off the bench to scored 12 points against the Spartans, is currently second in the league in field goal percentage (.792). He's made 19-of-24 attempts through the first five conference games. As a team, BVU is second in scoring (93.0ppg), second in scoring margin (+9.8ppg), first in field goal percentage (.550), three-point percentage (.440) and assists (20.2apg). In Division III, the team is ranked 11th in field goal percentage, fourth in three-point percentage, eighth in total assists and 20th in assist-to-turnover ratio. Entering Saturday's game, BVU head coach Brian Van Haaften has a career Iowa Conference record of 265-88 and is 148-28 during IIAC play.
About Loras: Josh Ruggles has led the team in scoring 10 times this season and is ranked third in the IIAC overall at 21.7ppg. During conference play, he's second at 23.7ppg. He's also third in assists (4.7apg) and has made 35-of-37 free-throw attempts. Ryan DiCanio is second on the team in scoring (17.2ppg) and is the team's leading rebounder (7.2rpg). He's sixth during IIAC play, grabbing 6.5 boards per game. As a team, Loras is third through six league games in scoring (87.0ppg), sixth in field goal percentage (.452), fourth in three-point percentage (.372), second in assists (19.7apg) and fourth in steals (5.7spg). The Duhawks, who don't have a single senior on the roster, received two first-place votes and 57 points in this year's preseason coaches poll and finished second behind Nebraska Wesleyan (62pts). The team is coming off an 18-8 campaign a year ago (11-5 IIAC) and tied with the Prairie Wolves for the regular season title. DiCanio, a First Team All-IIAC selection, is among three starters back. The team's only two IIAC losses this season are road defeats at #21 Wartburg and at Simpson.
Looking Ahead: Following Saturday's game, BVU will travel to #21 Wartburg College for a big IIAC contest at 8:00 p.m. The Duhawks, meanwhile, will be hosting Central College.