The Buena Vista men's basketball team has found itself alone atop the Iowa Conference standings after a strong second half effort helped lift it to an 86-79 home victory over Wartburg College on Wednesday night.
BVU, which scored the first eight points of the game, led most of the first half but a layup just before the first half horn sounded sent the Knights into the locker room with a 41-40 halftime lead.
Senior Kennedy Drey picked up his third personal foul midway through the first half and spent the rest of the period on the bench. That didn't slow him down in the second half, as he went on to finish with 21 points and 16 rebounds to help lead the charge at both ends.
Drey turned in seven quick points over the first four-plus minutes of the second half to give BVU a 52-47 lead. Connor Winkelman hit a three-pointer to give the Beavers a 64-56 lead midway through the period.
Wartburg pulled within 71-70 with under 5:00 to play before Drey took over and scored six straight points for the Beavers to push the lead back to 77-70. The Knights got as close as four, but BVU sank its free-throws inside the final minute to secure the win.
Aside from Drey, junior Daniel Jeffries turned in another stellar effort, scoring 21 points to go along with three assists and two steals. Thomas Wisecup had 14 points and five assists while Sean Morgan chimed in with 13 points and nine boards. Paul Gallagher dished out a game-high six assists and committed just one turnover in 24 minutes.
BVU shot 46 percent from the field and went 6-of-19 from downtown. They also made 18-of-24 at the free-throw line.
The Knights (11-4, 3-3 IIAC) made just 7-of-25 from beyond the arc, but were able to stay close by sinking 18-of-20 at the charity stripe. Nate Woeste turned in a team-high 15 points for Wartburg.
Buena Vista (8-6, 4-1 IIAC) snaps a four-game losing skid to the Knights and improves to 5-2 at home this season.
The Beavers will look to make it three straight wins when they go back on the road this Saturday for a 4:00pm tip-off in Decorah against Luther College (2-10, 0-5 IIAC).