Senior Adam Juhl nailed a three-point shot with 12.4 seconds to play, and the Beaver defense came up big on the final possession of the game, as they held on for a thrilling 91-90 victory at Simpson College on Wedneday night to begin Iowa Conference play.
The Storm went on a 19-6 run to take an 84-78 lead with just over four minutes to play in regulation. BVU, after leading by as many as 16 in the first half, clawed its way back to make it a 90-88 contest after Billy Sparks sank a pair of free-throws with 1:47 remaining. Simpson later had the ball looking to use up some clock but some nice halfourt defensive pressure outside the arc by David Jeffries forced a double-dribble on the Storm. BVU had the ball back with 30 seconds left, and Thomas Wisecup found Adam Juhl open from downtown, and the senior drilled it to put the Beavers back on top with under 13 seconds left.
Simpson came back down the floor and got a decent look from just inside the arc but couldn't get the roll and Timothy Jeffries was fouled going after the rebound. He, however, misfired on the 1-and-1 attempt at the other end, and after a pair of Storm timeouts, they had one final chance with 3.0 seconds left, but the halfcourt heave just in front of the score's table came up short, and the Beavers won their fifth straight Iowa Conference opener.
Sparks had another big game for BVU, making a career-high six three-point shots and scored 17 of his team-high 22 points in the first half. David Jeffries was right behind with 20 points and six rebounds while sophomore Canyon Hopkins turned in 10 points and a career-high eight boards. Brady Dicks and Matthew Goodman provided a nice boost off the bench with Dicks recording a career-best 10 points and Goodman right behind with eight points and six boards.
Senior Thomas Wisecup battled fouled trouble in the first half but came out strong in the second and dished out seven assists despite being held to only five points on 2-of-7 shooting.
The Beavers had another strong shooting performance at 53 percent from the field, including 12-of-24 from long range. They also continue their solid work at the free-throw line, making 13-of-18.
Conor Riordan had a game-high 28 points and four assists to lead Simpson (2-4, 0-1 IIAC) while Sam Amsbaugh had 16 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
BVU jumped out to a 33-17 lead with 8:00 left in the first half before Simpson slowly started chipping away. The Storm got back-to-back three-point shots to cap a 15-4 run over the next four minutes. They got as close as 48-46 with under a minute to play before a pair of free-throws from David Jeffries gave BVU a 50-46 lead at the break.
The game was back-and-forth throughout most of the second half with neither team being able to pull away. BVU led 71-65 following a layup by Grant Wright eight minutes into the period, but then BVU went the next three minutes without a point until Goodman's bucket put the Beavers back in front at 73-71. Simpson then went on its run to build its largest lead of the game at 84-78 with 4:41 remaining. Back-to-back buckets by Hopkins and Jeffries got the Blue and Gold back within a bucket before the Storm stopped the charge with a pair of long range buckets to go back up six with just over 2:00 on the clock. Jeffries then scored another layup to make it 90-86, and Simpson came up empty from there with three missed shots and a pair of turnovers.
Sparks forced the first of those turnovers with a steal and then was fouled with 1:47 left. It was his two free-throws that pulled BVU within two and set up Juhl's game-winning shot.
Buena Vista has now won three straight games overall and improves to 4-1 on the year (1-0 IIAC). The team looks to keep the hot streak alive when it entertains Coe College (2-4, 0-1 IIAC) on Saturday afternoon inside of Siebens Fieldhouse in a 4:00 p.m. tip-off. The Kohawks came up short in their league opener, 81-76, against Loras.