The Buena Vista men's basketball team overcame a bit of a shaky start on Saturday afternoon but eventually settled in nicely over the final 20 minutes, as the Beavers cruised to a 93-80 home victory over visiting Central College.
David Jeffries scored 14 second-half points to lead six Beavers in double figures with 22 points. He was 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 at the free-throw line. Sophmore Canyon Hopkins turned in 14 points while Timothy Jeffries added 13 points and Thomas Wisecup 11 points and nine rebounds. Billy Sparks and Matthew Goodman provided the boost of the bench. Sparks was 4-of-5 from downtown en route to 12 points while Goodman was 4-of-6 from the field and 5-of-7 at the charity stripe to finish with 13. Connor Winkelman missed out on double-digits but had a solid all-around game with eight points, six rebounds and six assists.
BVU, which averages just 12.0 turnovers per contest coming in, was nearly in double-digits in the first half. Central was able to hang around and went into the locker room with a 36-35 lead. It was only the third time all season that the Beavers trailed at the half.
The deficit didn't last long as Hopkins hand three layups over the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half to spark an 10-0 Beaver run that turned into a nine-point lead. Sparks made a deep three that made it a 12-point cushion at 52-41 but the Dutch weren't about to go away. They fought back within just a bucket at 63-61 just over the midway point of the half.
Timothy Jeffries hit a clutch three-pointer that extended the lead back to five before Wisecup hit back-to-back jumpers and Sparks nailed another three to push the lead back to 73-61. BVU maintained the lead which eventually grew to as many as 15 on four straight points from Goodman before Hopkins made it a 17-point lead on his final points of the contest.
Central tried to mount a late rally but was unable to get within single digits the rest of the way.
The Beavers shot over 64 percent from the field to mark their second-highest percentage of the year (68.5 vs. Greenville).
Kyle Smith, a Second Team All-IIAC performer for the Dutch a season ago, led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including a 7-of-11 performance from downtown. Aside from him, the Dutch were just a combined 3-of-23 from beyond the arc. The Beavers held 37-26 advantage on the glass.
Buena Vista extends its current win streak to a season-high six straight and improves to 11-2 overall (4-0 IIAC). The win, coupled by #18 Wartburg's loss at Coe later on, has the Beavers sitting alone atop the IIAC standings. Next up for the Beavers will be a road game at the University of Dubuque (8-5, 0-4 IIAC) on Wednesday, January 10, at 8:00 p.m.