The Buena Vista men’s basketball team saw a 16-point second half lead dwindle down to just four in the closing minutes on Saturday afternoon, but the Beavers would sink all eight of their free-throw attempts over the final 2:30 of the game to hang on and top Cornell College (3-22, 1-15 IIAC), 75-64.
BVU led 61-46 with just over seven minutes to play and continued to lead by 13 with five minutes to go. Reggie Greenwood, who scored all of his 16 points in the second half, made 1-of-2 free throws and then buried one of his three long range buckets to help spark a quick 9-0 run which saw the Rams get within 65-61. Senior Jeff Janssen (Fairmont, Minn./Fairmont, Minn.) sank a pair at the charity strip to push the lead back to six, and after Greenwood’s second attempt was offline, fellow senior Doug Bissen’s (Earling, Iowa/Harlan) layup extended the lead back to eight. Junior Wes Nordquist (Adel, Iowa/ADM), who chalked up a game-high 24 points, made four straight free-throws to give the team a double-digit lead before Janssen converted the game’s final two points.
The Beavers, who trailed 21-19 in the first half, closed the period on a torrid 16-0 run to take a 35-21 lead into the locker room. After the Rams got back within seven less than three minutes in, BVU responded with a 9-2 run to go back up 14 and would maintain that lead until Cornell’s last-minute surge.
Nordquist, who turned in his third straight 20+ point game, connected on 9-of-12 shots, as well as all six of his free-throw attempts and has now made 20 of his last 21 from the line. It also marked his second straight game with nine rebounds and he’s now 22 shy of 600 in his career. Andy Puhrmann (Paullina, Iowa/South O’Brien) made three long range buckets, as he and Bissen followed with 11 points each. Janssen went just 1-of-8 from the field, but made all six of his free-throw attempts to chip in with nine points. Michael Elming (Johnston, Iowa/Johnston) dished out a team-leading five assists.
BVU (15-10, 11-5 IIAC) finished the game shooting 53 percent from the field, while also sinking 20-of-25 attempts at the free-throw line. Cornell, meanwhile, attempted only 12 for the game.
Cory Cotter turned a team-high 19 points to lead three Rams in double-figures.
With the win, coupled with Coe College’s overtime victory over Luther College, the Beavers are this year’s #2 seed into the Iowa Conference Tournament and will receive a first round bye. Buena Vista has now won 15 games in a season for the 15th time in 16 seasons under Coach Van Haaften.
The IIAC Tournament begins with first round games on Tuesday night, February 21. BVU will host the winner of the #6 seed (Simpson College) and #3 seed (Univ. of Dubuque) match-up inside of Siebens Fieldhouse on Thursday night, February 23 at 7:00pm.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.