The Buena Vista men's basketball team hung tough against a tall and lengthy Drake team on Thursday night, but the Bulldogs started fast and ended strong during a 98-52 victory over the Beavers inside of the Knapp Center. The game was an official game for Drake and an exhibition for BVU.
The Bulldogs scored the first 11 points of the contest and led 16-1, but the Beavers settled in and began to get some shots to fall and did fight their way back to 25-15. Drake, which started 8-of-9 from the field in the opening half, finished 19-of-40 in the period and opened up a 49-27 halftime lead.
BVU tried to keep within striking distance in the second half, but it was the Bulldogs, who shot 60 percent over the final 20 minutes, who pulled away in the final six minutes to win their season opener.
Garrett Sittner and Dominic Sesma each made their Beaver debuts and helped lead the way on the offensive end with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Timothy Jeffries just missed out on scoring double-digits with nine.
Robert Hawkins led the team with six boards, but it was the Bulldogs holding a 52-33 edge on the boards and a 54-10 cushion with points in the paint.
The Beavers did get a little boost of inspiration for the game as Canyon Hopkins was recognized prior to the game by Drake and then joined his fellow Beaver teammates on the bench throughout the game.
Drake had five players score in double figures, led by Nick Norton's 17 points and five assists. Liam Robbins followed with 16 points, six boards and six blocks for the Bulldogs, who now travel to the University of Colorado next Tuesday night.
Buena Vista will have a quick turnaround as it will board the bus and head for Omaha, Neb., to take on the University of Nebraska Omaha in a 12:00 p.m. tip-off inside Baxter Arena on Friday. The game will be the home opener for the Mavericks and a second exhibition for BVU in as many days.