MBB Preview: Storm travel to Central

Taylor Filbert
Taylor Filbert

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- The Simpson Storm men's basketball team makes the short trip to Pella for a crucial American Rivers Conference clash with the Central Dutch on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium.

The Storm are coming off a hard-fought, 96-84 loss to top-ranked Nebraska Wesleyan last Wednesday. Central came back from 12 points down to beat Luther 83-81 on Saturday, the second straight win for the Dutch.

Sharing identical 3-3 records in league play, Simpson and Central are among a group of six teams separated by one win in the league standings. Loras (4-2), Dubuque (4-3), Coe (3-3) and Wartburg (3-3) are all part of the log jam.

Andrew Swadner and Cory Houser will have the call on KNIAKRLS.com. Fans can also watch the action on athletics.central.edu or access the game via the American Rivers application on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.

GAME 15
Simpson (9-5, 3-3) at Central (6-9, 3-3)
Wednesday, Jan. 16 | 8 p.m.
P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium | Pella, Iowa
Live Audio | Live Video/Live Stats

CENTRAL SERIES NOTES
Simpson and Central are meeting for the 201st time in a series that dates back to the 1906-07 season … Central holds a slim 102-98 lead in the all-time series, but Simpson has won five of the last seven … the last seven games in the series have been decided by an average of just 3.0 points … the teams split their two meetings in 2017-18.

RECENT RESULTS
Feb. 7, 2018 — W, 96-85 (Indianola)
Jan. 17, 2018 — L, 93-87 (Pella)
Feb. 21, 2017 — L, 76-66 (Indianola)*
Feb. 11, 2017 — W, 82-71 (Pella)
Jan. 18, 2017 — W, 64-63 (Indianola)
*IIAC Tournament

ABOUT THE DUTCH
Central and seventh-year head coach Craig Douma have won back-to-back games over Buena Vista (77-73) and Luther (83-81) after suffering a three-game losing streak … the Dutch are led by 6-7 forward Seth Wood, who averages 13.9 points and a league-best 8.6 rebounds per game … guard Jaden Moody is the fifth-leading scorer in the conference (18.1 ppg) and is averaging 22 ppg over the last five games … the Dutch rank fifth in the league in scoring (81.1 ppg) and eighth in defense (83.8 ppg).

LAST TIME OUT
Kyle Wagner scored a career-high 29 points and the Storm overcame a 17-point deficit but couldn't get past the defending national champion Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves in a 96-84 loss last Wednesday. Simpson took a 65-64 lead on a 3 by Taylor Filbert with 10:56 to play but a 14-0 run by Nebraska Wesleyan proved to be the difference.

STORM NOTES

  • Simpson's 65-64 lead against Nebraska Wesleyan with 10:56 left in the game is the latest an American Rivers team has led the unbeaten Prairie Wolves this season (six games).
  • Simpson tied a school record by going 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the loss to Nebraska Wesleyan. The Storm are shooting 84 percent (58-for-69) from the charity stripe over the last four games.
  • The Storm's 137 3-pointers through 14 games are good for second in the American Rivers Conference. Simpson is on pace to break the school record of 232 set in 2015-16.
  • Junior guard Kyle Wagner has caught fire as of late, setting career-highs in back-to-back games. He put up 21 in an 86-71 win over Dubuque on Jan. 5 before scoring 29 in the loss to Nebraska Wesleyan. He's shooting 70 percent from the field (16-for-23), 58 percent from 3-point range (7-for-12) and is a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line over the last two games.
  • Wagner leads the American Rivers and ranks second in Division III in 3-point percentage (54.5).
  • Junior forward Adam Reiter is enjoying a career season, averaging 12.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game after averaging just 2.8 and 1.8 as a sophomore.
  • Head coach Brad Bjorkgren became just the fifth coach in school history to reach 50 career wins with the Storm's 94-69 win at Luther on Dec. 3. He is the second-fastest to reach the mark, needing just 85 games. Bjorkgren is 53-38 in four seasons with the Storm.

UP NEXT
Simpson returns home to host Coe on Saturday, Jan. 19. Due to Simpson hosting the American Rivers Conference Wrestling Duals earlier that day, start time will be 7 p.m. at Cowles Fieldhouse.

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