Nebraska Wesleyan used a 20-7 midway through the second half to break open a 52-52 tie, and the Prairie Wolves never let the Beavers threaten from there en route to an 85-74 victory inside of Siebens Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon on Alumni Day.
NWU came out of the gate and nailed seven of their first eight three-point attempts to take an early 23-9 lead with less than six minutes gone by. BVU slowly chipped away at that lead as a three-point from freshman Micahel Demers got the team back within 28-23 with 8:54 to go. NWU was 47.8 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, including one with 40 ticks left that made it 49-42. Billy Sparks, however, gave the Beavers some momentum going into the locker room as he nailed a three to make it 49-45 at the break.
Sparks and Connor Winkelman hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull BVU even at 52-52 with 14:47 to go, but the Beavers were never able to grab the lead. The Prairie Wolves responded right back with a quick 7-0 run to take control, and the Beavers struggled to get any momentum going from there. The deficit grew to 10 at 65-55 with 8:00 left and it was all NWU from there. The Prairie Wolves led by as many as 18 down the stretch before BVU cut the lead down in the final minute
Demers scored a team-high and career-high 13 points, on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown. Sparks was 4-of-11 from long range and followed with 12 while David Jeffries chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds. Seven players scored at least seven points for BVU, including Thomas Wisecup who had eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.
BVU shot 44 percent from the field, including 13-of-35 from long range. The team turned the ball over 14 times while forcing only five.
NWU (19-3, 9-3 IIAC) made 16 shots from beyond the arc and went 11-of-12 at the free-throw line while scoring 25 points off turnovers.
Buena Vista is now 16-6 on the year (8-4 IIAC) and falls back into second place behind the Prairie Wolves and Loras. The team looks to keep pace in the race for the title when it hosts the University of Dubuque on Wednesday night at 8pm. The Prairie Wolves and Duhawks will square off that same night down in Lincoln.