MBB Preview: Storm travel to Nebraska Wesleyan for semifinals

MBB Preview: Storm travel to Nebraska Wesleyan for semifinals

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- The Simpson Storm men's basketball team hits the road to take on No. 1 Nebraska Wesleyan in the semifinal round of the American Rivers Conference Tournament on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Lincoln.

The fourth-seeded Storm (16-9) advanced to the semifinals by beating Coe 90-82 in Tuesday's opening round. The top-seeded Prairie Wolves (24-1) earned a bye in the first round by winning the league's regular-season title.

The winner of Thursday's game advances to the A-R-C Tournament Championship to face the winner of the other semifinal between sixth-seeded Dubuque and second-seeded Loras. The championship will be played Saturday, Feb. 23 at the highest remaining seed.

The game will be video streamed on NWUSports.com courtesy of Nebraska Wesleyan. Fans can also access the video stream via the American Rivers application on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV.

GAME 26
#4 Simpson (16-9) at #1 Nebraska Wesleyan (24-1)
Thursday, Feb. 21 | 7 p.m.
Snyder Arena | Lincoln, Neb.
Live Video | Live Stats

AMERICAN RIVERS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
First Round — Tuesday, Feb. 19
No. 6 Dubuque 83, No. 3 Wartburg 80
No. 4 Simpson 90, No. 5 Coe 82

Semifinals — Thursday, Feb. 21
No. 4 Simpson at No. 1 Nebraska Wesleyan
No. 6 Dubuque at No. 2 Loras

Finals — Saturday, Feb. 23
Semifinal winners at highest remaining seed

American Rivers Conference Tournament Homepage

SIMPSON IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Simpson's 90-82 win over Coe in Tuesday's first round snapped a five-game postseason losing streak, giving the Storm their first conference tournament win since 2012...the Storm are now 8-14 in 16 conference tournament appearances...Simpson is 2-11 on the road and 1-5 in the semifinal round...the lone semifinal win came in 1999—the tournament's inaugural season—via an 84-54 win over Coe...Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan have never met in the conference tournament.

NEBRASKA WESLEYAN SERIES NOTES
Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan meet for the 52nd time in a series that dates back to 1906-07 … the Prairie Wolves own a 30-21 lead in the all-time series and have won 9 of 10 … Nebraska Wesleyan is 5-1 against the Storm since joining the league in 2016-17...the Prairie Wolves swept the season series, winning 96-84 on Jan. 9 in Indianola and 102-71 on Feb. 6 in Lincoln.

RECENT RESULTS
Feb. 6, 2019 — L, 102-71 (Lincoln)
Jan. 9, 2019 — L, 96-84 (Indianola)
Jan. 27, 2018 — W, 102-97 OT (Indianola)
Dec 2, 2017 — L, 94-85 (Lincoln)
Feb. 4, 2017 — L, 73-72 (Lincoln)
Jan. 4, 2017 — L, 92-81 (Indianola)

ABOUT THE PRAIRIE WOLVES
Nebraska Wesleyan and fifth-year head coach Dave Wellman won their third-straight regular season conference title in 2019, going 15-1 in the league...the Prairie Wolves are ranked No. 1 in the D3hoops.com Poll...reigning conference co-MVP Ryan Garver is a front-runner for the honor in 2019, averaging 15.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and leading the league in assists (179), steals (72) and assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-4.0)...Nebraska Wesleyan is second in the league in scoring (91.0) and first in points allowed (72.6)...Nate Schimonitz averages a team-high 16.3 ppg to lead six players averaging double figures.

LAST TIME OUT
Conor Riordan scored 21 points, Adam Reiter had 20 and 12 rebounds and the Storm pulled away in the second half for a 90-82 win over Coe on Tuesday in the first round of the American Rivers Conference Tournament. Kyle Wagner scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, going 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. Tied 39-all at halftime, Wagner made a pair of 3s during a 14-4 run that gave the Storm a 60-51 lead. Coe pulled within two twice in the final seven minutes, but Riordan responded with a jumper and Wagner responded with a 3 to hold off the Kohawks.

STORM NOTES

  • The Storm made seven 3s in the win over Central on Feb. 13, giving the team 233 on the season to break the previous school record of 232 set in 2015-16. Simpson enters the postseason with 257 3-pointers.
  • Simpson shot 50.8 percent from the field in Tuesday's win over Coe, improving to a perfect 9-0 this season when shooting 50 percent-or-better.
  • Adam Reiter has enjoyed a breakout junior season. The 6-8 forward averages 13.5 points and 7.4 rebounds this season, up from 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds as a sophomore. He has five double-doubles on the season and leads the league in total rebounds (184) and offensive rebounds (5.8). He earned A-R-C co-Player of the Week honors on Dec. 9.
  • Junior forward Kyle Wagner has established himself as one of the top 3-point shooters in the country. Hitting 48.3 percent from beyond the arc, Wagner ranks ninth in the nation. With his five 3s against Coe, he increased his season total to 73, passing Zack Barragan (72 in 2011-12) for third-most in a single season. The school record is 81 set by Chad Buchanan in 1994-95.
  • A bulk of Wagner's success has come in the second half of the season. Over the last 13 games, he's averaging almost 17.9 ppg, shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 45.4 percent from beyond the arc. He averaged 10.7 ppg in the first 12.
  • With his 21 points against Coe, Conor Riordan increased his career total to 968. The junior is looking to become the 21st, 1,000-point scorer in school history.
  • Defensive specialist John Barbee ranks fourth in the league with 45 steals.
  • The Storm are third in the conference in scoring (84.1 ppg) and sixth in points allowed (80.5).
  • Simpson exploded for a school-record 18 3-pointers in a 98-89 win at Buena Vista on Wednesday, Jan. 23, breaking the mark of 17 set against Dubuque on Feb 22, 2003. The Storm went 18-for-32 in the game, good for 56.3 percent, second-best in school history.
  • 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 55-40 in four seasons with the Storm.
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