The Buena Vista men’s basketball team captured a share of its 11th Iowa Conference regular season title on Saturday evening by topping visiting Coe College (15-10, 8-6 IIAC) inside of Siebens Fieldhouse, 72-63.
Senior Wes Nordquist (Adel, Iowa/ADM) came up big down the stretch for BVU, scoring 18 of his team-high 26 points in the second half. He finished the game shooting 9-of-11 from the field and 8-of-11 at the charity stripe. In addition, he hauled in six rebounds, dished out a team-leading four assists and tallied a team-high three steals. Sophomore Cole Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood) was also in double-figures for the fifth straight game, adding 12 points, to go along with three assists.
As a team, BVU shot 57 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes and finished the game at 47 percent overall. It did that despite shooting just 28 percent from downtown and 52 percent at the charity stripe.
Defensively, senior Kyle Hooks (North Sioux City, S.D./Dakota Valley) hauled in a team-leading seven rebounds. As a team, the Beavers forced 17 turnovers, while committing only eight.
The Beavers scored 12 of the game’s first 16 points and remained in front the entire first half, building their largest lead of nine at 28-19 after a jumper from sophomore Alex Savage (Des Moines, Iowa/Dowling Catholic) with 2:12 left. The team then took a 32-26 lead into the break.
Coe came out to start the second half by scoring the first seven points to take its first lead of the contest at 33-32, but the lead was short-lived, as junior Michael Kaufmann (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) came back down the floor and nailed his only three-point bucket of the night.
Coe then tied the game at 37-37 before freshman Nick Clark (Fort Dodge, Iowa/St. Edmond) sank 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to give BVU the lead back, and it would not relinquish it from there. Savage nailed a three-pointer with over 11 minutes to go to help spark a key 19-10 run that built a 65-53 lead with over 4:12 left.
From there, the Kohawks were not able to get any closer than seven, as BVU wraps up the regular season on a three-game win streak.
The title is the team’s first since 2008-09 and is the eighth under head coach Brian Van Haaften.
The Beavers (19-6, 11-3 IIAC), who will be the number two seed in the conference tournament (lose tie breaker to Luther College), will host the winner of Tuesday night’s match-up between sixth-seed Simpson College and third-seed Dubuque in a semifinal match set for next Thursday, February 21, at 7:00pm. BVU has won seven of the 14 IIAC Tournaments all-time.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.