The Buena Vista men's basketball team needed a strong bounce-back performance on Saturday afternoon, and the Beavers got 29 points and 10 rebounds from Timothy Jeffries which helped lift them to a big 89-81 victory over visiting Luther College.
BVU has now won five straight games against the Norse, including three straight inside of Siebens Fieldhouse.
Luther led the majority of what was a tight first half as neither team led by more than six. Jeffries gave the Beavers their first lead since early in the half with a layup at the 2:16 mark that made it a 34-33 contest. Then following a lenghty delay due to scoreboard issues, the Beavers finished the half by scoring eight of the final 11 points and taking a 42-36 lead into the break.
BVU shot over 53 percent from the field in the contest, despite going just 7-of-26 from downtown, and used a big second half on the defensive end that gave the team additional scoring chances. The Beavers forced 14 turnovers in the game and held a 23-6 edge in points off turnovers.
BVU led 69-53 with under seven minutes to go and appeared to be in control. It still held an 80-67 cushion with 1:47 left, but the Norse caught fire late from downtown, connecting on two straight and making it a seven-point contest at 84-77 with 51 seconds left.
The Beavers, however, did their job and made 5-of-6 at the charity stripe over the final minute to secure their sixth home win of the year.
Jeffries was 10-of-14 from the field in the game and posted his first-ever double-double. DJ McNeal also had a career day with 22 points off the bench. The duo combined to go 11-of-15 at the free-throw line as BVU finished 20-of-26.
Jared Nicolaisen led a trio players who scored in double figures for Luther with 21 points. The Norse shot 47.7 percent from the field and made 11 shots from long range.
The loss drops Luther to 6-6 on the year (0-4 A-R-C) while the Beavers improve to 8-6 (2-3 A-R-C). BVU looks to even its league record when it travels to Central College on Wednesday, January 9, for an 8:00 p.m. contest with the Dutch.