The Simpson men's basketball team tips off 2017 on Wednesday, Jan. 4 when it hosts the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves at Cowles Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast live on SimpsonAthletics.com. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. with pre-game coverage beginning at approximately 7:45.
All fans will be admitted free of charge as Simpson students are in their final week of the semester break.
GAME 12 SETUP
The Storm (9-2, 2-0 IIAC) bring an Iowa-conference best five-game winning streak into Wednesday's game following a 2-0 showing at the Las Vegas Hoopla, at which Simpson beat NAIA Presentation (81-70) and No. 25 Northwestern Ohio (52-38). Simpson fell to the top-ranked team in Division II, Northwest Missouri State, 80-47 in an exhibition contest on New Year's Eve. The Prairie Wolves (7-3, 1-1 IIAC) began the new year with a 94-89 loss at St. Scholastica on Monday.
MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
Simpson—9-0, 2-0, 1st IIAC | 80.4 ppg, 101st NCAA | 39.9 rpg, 110th NCAA | 15.6 apg, 100th NCAA
Neb. Wesleyan—7-3, 1-1, t-5th IIAC | 96.7 ppg, 6th NCAA | 43.3 rpg, 31st NCAA | 19.4 apg, 7th NCAA
Simpson—PTS: Amsbaugh, 22.8 | REB: Amsbaugh, 8.5 | AST: Turner, 3.9
Nebraska Wesleyan—PTS: Cook, 20.3 | REB: Wells-Ross, 7.7 | AST: Schimonitz, 5.4
5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Simpson improved its winning streak to five games with wins over NAIA foes Presentation and Northwestern Ohio at the Last Vegas Hoopla. Sam Amsbaugh averaged 21.5 ppg to lead the Storm, including a 29-point performance against Presentation. He had 14 and Sabonis Smith added 12 in the defensive-oriented win over UNOH.
2. Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan meet for the 46th time in a series that began in 1906-07 and the first time as members of the Iowa Conference. The Prairie Wolves lead the all-time series 25-20 and have won the last four meetings, including a 110-97 win in the 2014-15 campaign. Simpson's last win in the series came on Dec. 19, 2009, a 73-65 victory in Lincoln.
3. Wednesday's matchup features the top-scoring attack in the IIAC against the league's stingiest defense. Nebraska Wesleyan comes in averaging a league-high 96.7 points and boasts a lineup featuring five players averaging double figures, led by Cooper Cook's 20.3 ppg. Simpson, on the other hand, allows just 68.5 points per game, the lowest mark in the IIAC. The Storm are 6-1 this season when holding opponents under 70 points.
4. Featuring Division III's No. 6 scoring attack, Nebraska Wesleyan started out the season 5-0, surpassing 100 points in each game and averaging better than 110 per game. Since then the Prairie Wolves have failed to reach the century mark, going just 2-3 while averaging less than 83 points per game, 13.9 below their season average.
5. Forward Sam Amsbaugh is closing in on the 1,000-point milestone for his career. The junior has 766 entering Wednesday's game and would need to average a little less than 17 per game -- five below his current pace -- to reach the mark during the regular season. Amsbaugh ranks second in the IIAC and 21st in Division III with 22.8 ppg while shooting 59.5 percent from the field.