Behind a balanced offensive effort, the Buena Vista men's basketball team was able to cruise to an 82-66 home victory over Cornell College (6-9, 4-2 IIAC) on Saturday afternoon inside BVU's Siebens Fieldhouse.
It was the seventh straight victory for Buena Vista (13-3, 7-0) as it stayed perfect atop the Iowa Conference standings. It was also career win No. 245 for head coach Brian VanHaaften, who has lost just 78 games in 12 seasons.
After trailing 8-6 early on, the Beavers used an 18-6 run over the next six minutes to go in front, 24-14, midway through the opening half. Adam Arndorfer hit back-to-back buckets to extend BVU's lead to 32-20 with 5:49 left to play before Cornell used a 12-8 run to over the final minutes of the period to cut its deficit to 40-32 at the break.
Larson Riley nailed a three to pull the Rams to within five (40-35) at the start of the second half, but Andre Wagner scored five of BVU's next 11 points as the Beavers used an 11-0 run over the next five minutes to go up 16 with just under 14 minutes to play. Cornell chipped away at the lead yet again, going on a 14-2 run, to get back to within four midway through the period.
The Rams still trailed by four (60-56) with 8:21 remaining before Matt Cleveland's jumper with exactly eight minutes to play sparked an 8-0 run, giving BVU a 68-56 advantage at the 6:17 mark. From there, Cornell was unable to get any closer than nine points.
Andre Wagner finished with a team-high 12 points, on 4-of-10 shooting from the field, to lead the Beavers, who connected on 52.1 percent of their shots for the game. Cleveland shot 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe to follow with 11 points and five rebounds. Adam Friedrichsen rounded out the trio of double figure scorers for BVU with 10 points and five boards. Brian Fogleman hauled in a team-best seven rebounds, as BVU out-rebounded the Rams, 39-29. The team also went 26-of-33 from the free-throw line (78.8 percent) as well as 6-of-15 from long range (40 percent).
The Rams were held to only 40.3 percent shooting on the afternoon, including a 34.6 percent performance from 3-point land.
Riley led the charge with a game-high 16 points, including a 3-of-5 effort from downtown, while also grabbing seven rebounds. Chris Handke and Ryan Lott followed with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Beavers now hit the road for a pair of games, beginning with a showdown in Indianola against Simpson College (5-11, 2-5 IIAC) tomorrow night. The Storm handed Loras College its second straight conference loss on Saturday afternoon, 69-67.
Tip-off between the two teams is scheduled for 8 p.m.