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MBB Preview: Storm at Luther 12/7/16

MBB Preview: Storm at Luther 12/7/16

The Simpson men's basketball team plays its final conference game before the semester break when it travels to Decorah, Iowa to face the Luther Norse at Regents Center on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. 

GAME SETUP
The Storm (5-2, 1-0 IIAC) opened conference play with an 81-68 win over Wartburg last Saturday. The Norse (1-6, 0-2 IIAC) lost their second game in a row with a 60-58 setback to Coe on Saturday. Luther lost to Loras 94-87 (OT) in the conference opener.

LIVE COVERAGE
Live Video: www.luther.edu/sports
Live Stats: www.luther.edu/sports

LAST TIME OUT
Sam Amsbaugh scored 21 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the second half, and the Storm pulled away from previously unbeaten Wartburg 81-68 in Saturday's Iowa Conference opener. Simpson trailed by two at halftime but shot 64 percent from the field in the second half, outscoring Wartburg 46-32 over the final 17 minutes. Full Recap

SERIES HISTORY
Simpson and Luther meet for the 153rd time in a series that dates back to the 1923-24 season. Luther leads the all-time series 82-70 but the Storm swept last season's matchups, winning 76-59 at home and 64-61 in Decorah. Before last season, Simpson had lost eight straight games at the Regents Center.

PROJECTED STARTERS
Simpson—Austin Turner, Ryan Skaar, Sabonis Smith, DJ Dafney, Sam Amsbaugh
Luther—Ray Whitlock, Spencer Sturges, Jared Nicolaisen, Luke Palmer, Lucas Markell

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
Simpson—5-2, t-1st in IIAC | 83.7 ppg, 73rd in NCAA | 39.3 rpg, 167th in NCAA | 16.3 apg, 82nd in NCAA
Luther—1-6, 9th in IIAC | 61.1 ppg, 390th in NCAA | 34.7 rpg, 318th in NCAA | 10.6 apg, 379th in NCAA

TEAM LEADERS
Simpson—PTS: Amsbuagh, 25.3 | REB: Dafney, 8.9 |  AST: Turner, 4.3 | Team Stats
Luther—PTS: Nicolaisen, 13.1 | REB: Wright, 6.3 |  AST: Stafford, 2.0 | Team Stats

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Luther's 1-6 record is deceiving; its last two losses have come by a combined nine points. Luther led by seven with 10 minutes to play in Saturday's 60-58 loss to Coe and led by 11 in the second half of Wednesday's 94-87 loss at Loras. 

• Jared Nicolaisen leads Luther in scoring at 13.1 points per game, getting 19 in the Norse's lone win, a 67-58 triumph over Wis.-La Crosse on Nov. 28. He scored 22 in the loss to Loras.

• Simpson is coming off its first win in a conference opener in five seasons after pulling away from Wartburg 81-68 on Saturday. The last time Simpson won its first two conference games was in 2005-06.

• Junior forward Sam Amsbaugh was a big reason for Simpson going 2-1 week, averaging 33 points and nine rebounds on the way to earning U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Player of the Week honors. He was also named to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week and earned IIAC Player of the Week honors for the fourth time.

• Amsbaugh ranks 10th in Division III with 25.3 ppg and eighth with 65 made field goals. 

• With his three 3-pointers against Wartburg, senior guard Ryan Skaar moved into sole possession of fifth place on Simpson's all-time list with 116 career 3s.