Senior Jeff Janssen, this week’s Iowa Conference Male Athlete of the Week, buried a three-pointer to give the Buena Vista men’s basketball team its first lead of the second half with under eight minutes to go, and the Beavers, who connected on 7-of-8 free-throws down the stretch, hung on for their sixth win in a row by topping Loras College, 68-65, on Wednesday night.
Janssen finished the night with a game-high 17 points, including a 3-of-4 effort from downtown. Fellow senior Michael Elming followed with a season-high 14 points, on 5-of-11 shooting, to go along with a team-leading four assists. Senior Doug Bissen, who fought through foul trouble for a good part of the game, came up big down the stretch by hitting all four of his free-throw attempts over the final five minutes. He finished the game with 10 points and three assists. Junior Wes Nordquist was held to only eight points, but did bring down a game-high 11 rebounds.
BVU opened the game strong, jumping out to a quick 11-3 lead before the Duhawks, coming out of a timeout, used a 13-4 run to take their first lead of the night at 16-15. They then pushed the margin up to five (26-21) with five minutes to go in the first half and would go on to lead by that same margin (34-29) going into the locker room.
Back-to-back buckets to begin the second half gave Loras its largest lead of the night at 38-29, but Janssen would follow with his first three of the night to cap an 8-0 run and get BVU back within a point at 38-37.
After Loras bumped its lead back up to six, sophomore Michael Kaufmann made his only three-point basket of the contest to pull the Beavers back within 50-47 with 12 minutes to go.
Loras continued to lead until Nordquist, who’s now only 19 points shy of 1,000 in his career, made 1-of-2 free-throws to tie the game at 56-56 with just over nine minutes to play. Janssen then made his final triple of the night two minutes later to give BVU its first lead since 19-18. He’s now tied with Travis Person for sixth on the program’s all-time list with 141.
Loras would later tie things back up at 59-59 and grab a slim 62-61 lead with just under four minutes to go. Bissen then stepped to the free-throw line to give the Beavers the lead back at 63-62 with his final two free-throws of the night and Nordquist extended it to 64-62 with a free-throw of his own.
The Duhawks, however, would not go away, tying things back up at 64-64 on their next trip down the floor, but it was two more free-throws from Elming which gave BVU the lead for good. Loras had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer but couldn’t get its three-point shot to fall.
With the win, the Beavers, coupled by losses from both Luther and Coe, find themselves tied in the loss column for a share of the league lead. The team will welcome the Kohawks to Siebens Fieldhouse on Saturday with a chance to secure an Iowa Conference Tournament berth.
Brian Gaughan was the only Duhawk in double figures with 15 points, as BVU held Loras to 39 percent shooting.
BVU finished the game shooting 51 percent from the field. The team also made 13 free-throws, while Loras only attempted 13.
Buena Vista is now 12-8 overall this season (8-3 IIAC). The team will now take part in alumni weekend festivities, as the JV team will face the alumni at 1:30, followed by the match-up with the Kohawks at 6:00pm.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.