MBB Preview: Storm at Las Vegas Hoopla 12.20-21

Ben Rajewski and the Storm begin the Las Vegas Hoopla on Tuesday.
Ben Rajewski and the Storm begin the Las Vegas Hoopla on Tuesday.

The Simpson men's basketball team travels to Las Vegas to compete in the Las Vegas Hoopla on Dec. 20-21. The Storm will play a pair of NAIA foes on the trip, squaring off against Presentation (S.D.) on Tuesday and Northwestern Ohio on Wednesday.

Tuesday's tipoff against Presentation is set for 6 p.m. Pacific, 8 Central. Wednesday's tipoff against Northwestern Ohio is set for 4 p.m. Pacific, 6 Central.

GAMES 10-11
The Storm (7-2) won their third straight with a 96-59 win over Kansas Christian on Saturday, Dec. 10. Presentation (5-6) saw a two-game winning streak come to an end with a 90-77 loss to Bellevue on Dec. 16 and Northwestern Ohio won its third-straight with a 93-79 win over Aquinas College on Dec. 17. 

LIVE COVERAGE
Live Video ($8.95 per game)

PROJECTED STARTERS
Simpson—Sam Amsbaugh, Ryan Skaar, Sabonis Smith, Austin Turner, DJ Dafney
Presentation—Donnell Minton, Elijah Valdez, Aaron Samuels, Bradley Branch, Marcus Holman
Northwestern Ohio—Lawrence Jackson, Sadeeq Bello, Corbin Pierce, Ziar Anderson, Nate Bradley

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
Simpson—7-2, 1st IIAC | 83.4 ppg | 40.4 rpg | 16.0 apg
Presentation—5-6, 5th NSAA | 87.8 ppg | 39.4 rpg | 12.3 apg
Northwestern Ohio—10-3, 2nd WHAC | 72.8 ppg | 31.2 rpg | 14.2 apg

TEAM LEADERS
Simpson—PTS: Amsbaugh, 23.1 | REB: Amsbaugh, 8.7 | AST: Turner, 4.3
Presentation—PTS: Minton, 25.0 | REB: Samuels, 7.9 | AST: Minton, 3.2
Northwestern Ohio—PTS: Jackson, 15.8 | REB: Jackson, 7.7 | AST: Bello, 4.8

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• The NAIA Division II Presentation Saints of Aberdeen, S.D. compete in the North Star Athletic Association. The Saints and seventh-year head coach Jeremy Reigle are 5-6 on the season and have won three of their last five. Senior guard Donnell Minton (25 ppg) ranks third in NAIA Division II in scoring.

• The NAIA Division II Northwestern Ohio Racers of Lima, Ohio compete in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. The 25th-ranked Racers and 10th-year head coach Chris Adams are 10-3 overall and in second-place in the WHAC behind top-ranked Cornerstone at 7-1 in league play. Lawrence Jackson (15.8 ppg), Sadeeq Bello (15.5 ppg) and Corbin Pierce (14.8 ppg) lead a well-balanced attack. Each has made at least 25 3-pointers on the year, led by Jackson's 30.

• Simpson has met Presentation once on the hardwood, beating the Saints 66-52 on Nov. 29, 2008. Wednesday will mark the first-ever meeting between the Storm and Northwestern Ohio. 

• Riding a three-game winning streak heading into Tuesday's meeting with Presentation, the Storm are looking for their first four-game winning streak since 2011-12. That year, the Storm won four-straight IIAC games in a 10-day stretch, beating Buena Vista (68-64), Central (89-71), Loras (82-70) and Wartburg (75-71) from Jan. 11-Jan. 21.

• Senior point guard Austin Turner has cracked the top-10 in school history with 206 career assists and could reach the top-five before season's end. Turner currently ranks 10th in school history and needs 61 assists to reach the top five. He needs to average 3.8 assists over the final 16 regular season games to tie Jon Burke (1995-99) with 267 assists. He currently averages a career-best 4.3 assists per game.