The Buena Vista men's basketball team has won a season-high six straight games and is a perfect 4-0 during Iowa Conference play, and the Beavers will look to keep both win streaks going when it travels to the University of Dubuque for a league match-up on Wednesday night.
Who: Buena Vista (11-2, 4-0 IIAC) @ Dubuque (8-5, 0-4 IIAC)
When: Wednesday, January 10 * 8:00pm
Where: Stoltz Sports Center * Dubuque, Iowa
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-- Sharp Shooters: The Beavers are currently ranked sixth in Division III in three-point percentage at 42.1 percent (118-of-280). Billy Sparks is 18th at 50.0 percent.
-- Dishin' the Rock: BVU is among the top teams in the country when it comes to sharing the ball. The team is ranked ninth in Division III in assists per game (19.1) and 19th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.39). Thomas Wisecup is 14th in that category, individually (4.30).
-- Swimming in Depth: BVU plays a consistent 10-man rotation with all 10 players averaging better than 11.0 minutes per game. Seven of those 10 players are also shooting better than 43 percent from the field with five of them dishing out at least 2.0 assists per game.
-- Putting Points on the Board: The Beavers enter tonight's game with a 10-1 record this season when scoring at least 80 points. Their only loss was a narrow 84-80 setback against UW-La Crosse.
-- Strong IIAC Start: The Beavers are going after a 5-0 start to the their conference campaign which would be the team's best start since starting 6-0 in 2008-09 (finished 15-1). In the first four league games, BVU has scored at least 90 points in each one and currently ranks second behind Nebraska Wesleyan at 92.3ppg.
-- Scoring in bunches: BVU has been no stranger of putting points on the board in a hurry. So far this season, the Beavers have seven different halves in which they have scored at least 50 points.
-- Triple Effect: BVU senior Thomas Wisecup enters Wednesday's game having made 131 three-point baskets in his career which ranks 12th all-time. He is just five makes away from 10th on the list (Shane Steele; 1990-92). He's also 14 points away from 800 and just last week went over 200 career assists which ranks 16th.
Inside the Series: Today is the 142nd meeting all-time between the two programs. Dubuque leads the series 75-66 and has won three of the last four contests. BVU has dropped two straight games played in Dubuque and last won inside of the Stoltz Center back in 2014-15 (94-80). BVU head coach Brian Van Haaften won his first 24 games against the Spartans but is just 8-9 in the last 17.
Last Time Out: BVU kept its perfect IIAC record in tact with a 93-80 home victory over Central College on Saturday (Jan. 6). The Beavers trailed 36-35 at the break but came out and scored the first 10 points of the second half and never looked back as it led by as many as 15 in the half. David Jeffries scored a team-high 22 points with Canyon Hopkins adding 14. BVU shot better than 60 percent from the field.
Dubuque dropped to 0-4 in the league after tough 98-91 loss at cross-city rival Loras on Wednesday (Jan. 3) despite getting a career-high 50 points from TJ Lake. Lake was 12-of-20 from the field, including 8-of-12 from downtown, while also going a perfect 18-of-18 at the charity stripe. The game was tied nine times with nine lead changes.
About BVU: Buena Vista has three starters averaging double figures on the year with one other at 9.2ppg. David Jeffries leads the way at 16.2ppg and is shooting over 54 percent from the field and 53 percent from downtown. Wisecup is turning in 12.9ppg and is ranked second in the IIAC at 7.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore Canyon Hopkins chips in 10.4ppg while fellow sophomore Billy Sparks averages 2.9 three-point makes per contest off the bench and is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.4ppg. Timothy Jeffries has scored in double figures in four straight games and is at 9.2ppg. As a team, BVU is shooting over 50 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from long range. Five of the team's wins during its current six-game win streak have been by double digits while the sixth was by eight. During the streak, the team is averaging 87.7ppg and has won by an average margin of 20.8ppg.
About Dubuque: The Spartans got off to a 5-0 start to the year but hav gone just 3-6 since. It has struggled to win the close games during its recent skid, having lost its last two by a combined 10 points. Aside from its conference opening loss to Wartburg, the last three IIAC games Dubuque has played have been decided by single digits and by a combined 18 points. The team comes in averaging 78.5ppg during conference play but has allowed nearly 90.0 per contest. Lake is ranked second in the league during those games in scoring at 23.5ppg. Jamaree Atwater is second in rebounding at 7.8rpg and tops in blocks per outing (2.5). Dubuque was the IIAC regular season and tournament champions in 2015-16 and before going 10-15 (7-9 IIAC) a year ago to finish seventh. The team was picked to take fourth here in 2017-18 with three starters returning, including Atwater, who was a Second Team All-IIAC selection a year ago.
Looking Ahead: Following Wednesday's game, Buena Vista will host Loras College on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 14) at 4:00 p.m., while the Spartans travel to Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday (Jan. 14) also for a 4:00 p.m. tip-off.