The Buena Vista men's basketball team built an early 12-point first half lead at UW-La Crosse on Saturday afternoon, but the Eagles rallied late in the half to take a four-point halftime lead en route to an 85-73 victory.
BVU was dialing it up from long distance in the early going, starting 5-of-7 from long range, including two from Michael Demers that gave the team its largest lead at 23-11 just nine minutes into the game.
The Eagles then hit for of their next five shots to help spark a 25-9 spurt to end the half and take a 36-32 halftime lead. After the strong start from behind the arc, the Beavers finished the half making just 1-of-9 attempts.
BVU was still within four following the first media timeout of the second half, but UW-La Crosse began to take control with a 10-2 run over the next two minutes that put the Eagles in front 56-44. The lead grew to as many as 15 points at 72-57 with 6:55 to play, and BVU got no closer than seven over the final 10 minutes of the half. The Beavers had it within nine with under 4:00 to play, but the Eagles then rolled off four straight to put the game out of reach.
Sophomore Garrett Sittner had a career-high 13 points, on 3-of-5 shooting from downtown, to help lead the Beavers offensively. Robert Hawkins and Michael Demers each followed with 12 as Demers was 3-of-3 from long distance. Sittner was also a perfect 2-of-2 at the free-throw line and is now 14-of-15 from the charity stripe on the year.
The Beavers shot nearly 44 percent from the field overall and were 11-of-13 from the free-throw line. The Eagles, however, went 50.8 percent from the field and were 11-of-25 from downtown. UW-La Crosse also outrebounded BVU, 38-26, and held a slight 11-4 edge in second-chance points.
UW-La Crosse improves to 4-3 overall with the win while BVU dips to 3-4. The Beavers are next in action on Thursday, December 13, when they travel to Loras College to face the Duhawks in an American Rivers Conference contest at 8:00 p.m. The game is part of a rescheduled doubleheader from Saturday, December 1.