The Buena Vista men took to the road looking to snap a two-game losing skid on Saturday, but the team fell just short in a three-point shootout at Loras College, falling to the Duhawks 104-94.
Both teams brought their offensive touch to the court in this one with each side shooting better than 50 percent from both downtown and the field overall while combining to make 30 baskets from long range.
The Beavers shot 57 percent from the field overall and made 11-of-20 shots from beyond the arc but still trailed by 15 at the half. They were able to cut the deficit to single digits early in the second half, but it was short-lived as Loras responded with a pair of free-throws and then made it a 13-point cushion. Loras went in front by 16 midway through before Michael Demers again got BVU within single digits at 80-71 with over eight minutes still to play.
Back-to-back buckets from Demers and Thomas Wisecup got BVU as close as 84-79 at the 5:22 mark before Billy Sparks hit his only three of the game to pull the team as close as four. After Loras went back up by six on a pair of free-throws, David Jeffries got a basket and free-throw to make it just a three-point game with 4:02 to go.
Loras then got a big offensive put-back to push the lead back up to five and then made four straight free-throws to make it a nine-point lead. BVU was unable to get any closer than seven points from there as Loras continued to sink free-throws down the stretch.
Wisecup had a big shooting day for the Beavers, drilling 5-of-7 from downtown and finishing with a career-high 26 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists. Demers was 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 at the free-throw line to post another career-high with 14 points. He also matched a career-best with five boards and has averaged 12.7 points and 3.0 rebounds over his last three games.
Josh Ruggles, who's one of the league's top scoring leaders, made 8-of-10 from the line and led the Duhawks with 19 points.
Buena Vista has now dropped a season-high three straight games and sits at 16-8 overall (9-6 IIAC). The team is a half-game ahead of Simpson for third-place in the IIAC standings with just one game remaining. The Beavers look to close out the regular season and take the third seed with a victory next Saturday, February 17, at Luther College (5-18, 0-14 IIAC). Tip-off against the Norse is 4:00 p.m.