ST. LOUIS -- No. 19 Washington-St. Louis advanced to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament with a 71-59 victory against Buena Vista on Friday night at the WU Field House.

“It was a hard-fought game by both teams. I felt that we executed defensively at the right time, which was the whole ball game,” head coach Mark Edwards said, who has led Washington U. to 20 wins for the 13th time in his 31-year career.

Washington U.’s defense forced 21 turnovers in the victory, and limited Buena Vista to 2-for-17 from 3-point range.

“Defense has been a huge part of our team all year,” Dylan Richter said. “In any given game, maybe your shot may fall, maybe it won’t, but you can always put the effort forth on defense. That’s what we did, and that’s what we are going to do going forward.”

Washington University struggled from the field for the game shooting 39.7 percent (25-63), but hit 10-of 22 3-pointers. The Bears also had 19 assists on 25 field goals, and recorded a season-high seven blocks and 11 steals.

Washington U. started slow missing six of its first nine shots, but held onto the lead for the opening five minutes. The Beavers got the lead for the first time following a fast-break dunk by Doug Bissen with 14:37 to play, but Matt Palucki drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get the lead right back.

Palucki drained his trey of the half to make it 21-19, and then back-to-back 3’s from Alan Aboona and Tim Cooney pushed the advantage to 27-20 before a media timeout. Richter’s 3-pointer just before half gave Washington U. a 41-29 lead at intermission.

Richter led the Bears with eight points in the first half, as Washington U. connected on 7-of-14 from 3-point range. The Bears’ defense turned 13 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes into a 14-4 advantage in points off turnovers. Washington U. also outscored Buena Vista 8-0 in second-chance points.

Washington U. held onto a double-digit lead most of the second half, and made it 58-43 after a 3-pointer from the wing by Aboona and a free-throw by Chris Klimek. The Beavers would get the lead down to 11, but back-to-back jumpers from Richter and Palucki before the media timeout made it 62-47 with 6:36 to play.

A lay-up by Ben Hoener and two free-throws by Klimek pushed the Bears lead to their largest of the night -- 66-47 with 4:58 to play.

Richter finished with 18 points and five rebounds, upping his career point total to 1,098 points. He added four three’s in the win, and sits two shy of Sean Wallis (2005-10) for eighth place all-time. Aboona also scored in double figures with 11 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting.

Wes Nordquist was the lone scorer in double figures with 22 points and 13 rebounds for Buena Vista, which ended its season with a 17-11 record. The Beavers outrebounded Washington U. 41-34 and hit 15-of-20 free-throws in the loss.