In a game that saw neither team lead by more than six points, it was a key 14-2 run by Buena Vista midway through the second half that helped boost them to a thrilling 69-66 non-conference road victory at Gustavus Adolphus College (2-5) on Saturday afternoon.
BVU trailed 56-50 with 13:06 to play in regulation before it scored 11 straight points to grab a 61-56 advantage. Senior Wes Nordquist (Adel, Iowa/ADM) made a pair of free-throws to start the rally after getting fouled on a put-back attempt underneath the basket. Sophomore Greg Sibenaller (Hornick, Iowa/Westwood) then made back-to-back buckets before a bucket and free-throw from fellow sophomore Brett Heitkamp (Johnston, Iowa/Johnston) broke a 56-56 tie to give the Beavers a three-point cushion. Nordquist then added a jumper to extend it to five.
Senior Tyler Pleiss (Omaha, Neb./Ralston) later sank 1-of-2 free-throw attempts to give the team its largest lead of the contest (6) with 6:24 left. The Gusties then scored four straight to get within 64-62 with 4:32 to play, but Nordquist came right back down and made a lay-up to push it right back up to four.
Neither team scored for nearly four minutes before Gustavus, which made only seven field goals in the second half, hit a jumper with 37 seconds left to make it 66-64.
Nordquist made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line with 29 seconds left before the Gusties made a long jumper just inside of the three-point line with six seconds left to make it a 67-66 score. Senior Troy Ticknor (Adel, Iowa/ADM) then calmly sank two free-throws to push the lead up to 69-66 and Gustavus’ game-tying three-point attempt was waved as the buzzer had already sounded.
Nordquist led all scorers with 23 points and also hauled in a game-best 16 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. He also blocked three shots and recorded two of the team’s six steals. Heitkamp made 5-of-6 shots from the field, as well as both free-throw attempts, to set a career-high with 12 points. He also grabbed six rebounds and blocked one shot. Cole Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood) dished out a team-high four assists.
BVU shot 40 percent from the field overall, including 5-of-13 from downtown.
After Gustavus shot 61 percent from the field in the first half, the Beavers held the Gusties to only a 24 percent mark over the final 20 minutes.
The victory was the fourth straight overall this season for the Beavers, who are now 5-3. The win also snapped a five-game losing skid to the Gusties. The team’s last win against them came back in 2006-07 when it won 78-70 up in St. Peter. Up next for BVU is a non-conference home game on Saturday, December 15 against UW-Superior. Tip-off inside of Siebens Fieldhouse is scheduled for 4:00pm.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.