The Buena Vista men’s basketball team had its quest for back-to-back Iowa Conference Tournament championships come to an end on Friday night, as the University of Dubuque (21-6) used a key 7-0 run late in the second half to break a 48-48 tie, before holding off the Beavers in the end for a 64-61 victory.
Senior Wes Nordquist (Adel, Iowa/ADM), playing in his final game inside of Siebens Fieldhouse, turned in a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. He also recorded a pair of steals which sent him past 100 in his career (101). Fellow senior Troy Ticknor (Adel, Iowa/ADM) was also in double-figures with 10 points, including a pair of three-point buckets, giving him 177 in his career. Senior Kyle Hooks (North Sioux City, S.D./Dakota Valley) and sophomore Cole Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood) each dished out three assists.
Buena Vista came out and shot only 25 percent from the field in the opening half, but did make 8-of-11 at the free-throw line, and held a slim 25-24 lead at the break.
A three-pointer by the Spartans six minutes into the second half gave them an eight-point advantage (41-33); marking the largest lead of the night for either team.
The Beavers, however, slowly began to chip away at that lead, going on a 9-0 run, capped by a three-pointer from Clark, giving BVU the lead back at 42-41 with 10:20 to play.
The game then went back-and-forth over the next four minutes with neither team leading by more than three. A lay-up by Nick Wuebker (Ayrshire, Iowa/Emmetsburg) tied things up at 48-48 with under seven minutes left.
Dubuque, which shot 52 percent in the second half, then regained the lead on its ensuing possession, and following a turnover and a technical foul by BVU, the Spartans took advantage, sinking both free-throws before adding a third later in the possession for a five-point margin. Following another turnover by the Beavers, who committed just eight in the contest, the Spartans got another bucket to go up by seven.
BVU still trailed by six two minutes left in regulation before Nordquist made a pair of free-throws and later made a bucket, was fouled, and sunk the free-throw, to get the Beavers as close as two with under a minute left.
Dubuque then ran the shot clock down as far as it could before a running bank shot from the baseline with 12 seconds left, pushed the margin back up to four. The Spartans then secure the win with two late free-throws, and Ticknor nailed a shot inside the half court line as time expired for the game’s final score.
Chris Frazier turned in a game-high 19 points in 38 minutes to help lead the Spartans, who will now host Sunday’s IIAC Tournament championship game against Wartburg College, who defeated top-seeded Luther College.
Buena Vista dips to 19-7 overall, and the game could possibly be the final one in a Beaver uniform for five seniors: Nordquist, Ticknor, Hooks, Tyler Pleiss (Omaha, Neb.) and Max Burgeson (Milford, Iowa/Okoboji).
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.