The challenge in the Iowa Conference has officially been issued to the Buena Vista University men's basketball team.
And by a familiar foe. Wartburg, led by 20 points from Jason Steege, edged the BVU men here 72-61 Tuesday night in a crucial conference game.
Wartburg had a 35-25 lead after the first half and hung on in the second, outscoring BVU 37-36 for the final margin.
Free throws and rebounding were key. Wartburg made more free throws than the BVU men attempted, as the Knights were 19 of 25 from the line and the Beavers seven of nine.
On the boards, Wartburg held its own, outrebounding BVU 32-25.
The Beavers hit 43.9 percent of their field goal attempts while Wartburg was hot, hitting 54.3 percent of their shots.
For BVU, just two players reached double figures. Senior point guard Eric Wiebers scored a team-high 15 points while Newell-Fonda alum Brandon Kies added 11. Two other players, Michael Cameron and senior post player Randy Bissen, hit for nine points each.
Wartburg trailed just once during the contest, when Campbell hit a two-pointer to make it 2-0.
The Knights scored the next four points for a 6-2 lead and and several minutes later, had increased that to 20-12.
The Beavers then went on a 7-0 run to get to within 20-19 with 6 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first half. Wartburg matched that rally, outscoring BVU 15-6 over the next six and a half minutes for a 35-25 lead at the intermission.
Wartburg played well in the second half, never letting BVU get within striking distance.
The Knights led 40-31 at the 15 minute mark of the second half and six and a half minutes later, with 7:36 left, had upped the lead to 55-38.
BVU never seriously threatened after that.
With the loss, the Beavers' second consecutive defeat, BVU dropped to 9-2 overall on the season and 1-1 in the Iowa Conference. Wartburg is now 4-0 in the Iowa Conference and 10-3 overall.
Two other Wartburg players reached double figures, as Nate Schmidt netted 19 and Cassidy Peterson 12 points.
The Beaver men returned home and will meet the University of Dubuque Friday at Siebens Field House starting at 8 p.m. They'll host Simpson College Saturday at 6 p.m. at Siebens Field House.