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Storm travel to Luther, Wartburg this week

Head Coach, Brad Bjorkgren
Head Coach, Brad Bjorkgren

The Simpson men's basketball team hits the road this week for a pair of Iowa Conference contests, going to Luther on Wednesday evening and to Wartburg on Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday's tipoff is set for 8 p.m. in Decorah and will be video streamed on Luther.edu. Saturday's game in Waverly will start at 4 p.m. and will be video streamed on Knight Vision. Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will describe the action on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com.

The Storm (10-9, 6-5) snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday afternoon, beating Nebraska Wesleyan 102-97 in overtime. Conor Riordan scored a career-high 32 points and Taylor Filbert forced the extra frame with his game-tying 3 with 13.7 seconds left in regulation.

The Norse (5-14, 0-10) beat Maranatha Baptist 64-63 on Saturday in non-conference action. The Knights (12-7, 5-5) dropped their third straight, falling to Dubuque 102-92 on Saturday.

Simpson (6-5) begins the week with a half-game lead over Wartburg (5-5) for fourth place in the IIAC standings. Nebraska Wesleyan (8-3), Buena Vista (8-3) and Loras (8-3) are locked in a three-way tie for first.

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THIS WEEK

Game #20: at Luther (5-14, 0-10)
Wednesday, Jan. 30 — 8 p.m.
Regents Center — Decorah, Iowa
Live Video/Live Stats

Game #21: at Wartburg (12-7, 5-5)
Saturday, Feb. 3 — 4 p.m.
Levick Arena — Waverly, Iowa
Live Video | Live Stats | Live Audio

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1 — Valuing the Basketball: Simpson takes care of the ball as well as any team in the nation. The Storm turn the ball over just 10.4 times per game, fourth-fewest in Division III. In the last 10 games, the Storm are averaging just 8.9 turnovers per game -- down from 12.1 in the first nine.

2 — Dropping 30: Conor Riordan became the most recent Simpson player to score 30 points in game this season when he finished with a career-high 32 in Saturday's win over Nebraska Wesleyan. Two other players have scored 30 points in a game this season — Tyler Stumbo (33 at Nebraska Wesleyan, 12/2/17) and Sam Amsbaugh (30 vs. Husson, 12/18/17; 30 at Coe, 1/10/18).

3 — Amsbaugh's Place in History: Sam Amsbaugh is just the seventh player in school history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career. The senior forward is currently ninth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,390 points and 12th with 529 rebounds.

4 — Bench Buckets: The Storm have received a big boost from their bench play since the start of the new year. In the last eight games, Simpson's bench is averaging 25.9 ppg, up from 13.4 ppg in the first 11 games of the season. Kyle Wagner has led the bench with 8.9 ppg during the stretch, helping the Storm to a 5-3 mark.

5 —Bjorkgren's First OT: Saturday's 102-97 win over Nebraska Wesleyan marked third-year head coach Brad Bjorkgren's first overtime game at Simpson. It was Simpson's first overtime game since the 2014-15 season and improved the Storm's record in overtime games to 8-13 since the 2000-01 season.

SERIES NOTES

Luther — Simpson and Luther are meeting for the 156th time in a series that dates back to the 1923-24 season … Luther leads the all-time series 82-73 but Simpson has won five in a row … Simpson got 24 points from Conor Riordan in an 83-60 win on Jan. 3 in Decorah.

Wartburg — Simpson and Wartburg are meeting for the 138th time in a series that dates back to the 1945-46 season … Wartburg leads the all-time series 91-46 … Simpson has won the last three meetings, including an 86-81 win on Jan. 13 in Indianola.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Luther — The Norse and 12th-year head coach Mark Franzen are 5-14 on the season and still in search of their first Iowa Conference win … the lowest-scoring team in the league (68.9 ppg), Luther has failed to reach 70 points in eight straight games … 6-1 junior guard Jared Nicolaisen leads the team in scoring (16.8 ppg), rebounding (3.9 rpg) and assists (2.7 apg) and has led the team in scoring in each of the last seven games.

Wartburg — The Knights and 21st-year head coach Dick Peth are 12-7 on the year and carry a three-game losing streak into Wednesday's meeting at Buena Vista … Wartburg owns the league's top defense, leading the IIAC in scoring defense (73.1 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (42.6) … 6-1 junior guard Jaran Sabus leads the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg).