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Storm host Dubuque, Nebraska Wesleyan in crucial week

Tyler Stumbo
Tyler Stumbo

The Simpson men's basketball team sets to turn around its recent fortunes when it hosts a pair of Iowa Conference games at Cowles Fieldhouse this week. The Storm (9-8, 5-4) welcome the Dubuque Spartans on Wednesday, Jan. 24 and host the league-leading Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves on Saturday, Jan. 27. Wednesday's tipoff is set for 8 p.m. while Saturday's game slated for a 4 p.m. start.

Todd Guessford will have the call for both games on SimpsonAthletics.com. Wednesday's pre-game begins at approximately 7:45 p.m. and Saturday's pre-game gets underway at 3:45 p.m. Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will have the call for Saturday's game on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com.

THIS WEEK

Game #18: vs. Dubuque (10-8, 2-7)
Wednesday, Jan. 24 — 8 p.m.
Cowles Fieldhouse — Indianola, Iowa
Live Video | Live Stats

Game #19: vs. Nebraska Wesleyan (16-2, 7-2)
Saturday, Jan. 27 — 4 p.m.
Cowles Fieldhouse — Indianola, Iowa
Live Video | Live Stats | Live Audio

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

  1. The Storm return home after suffering a pair of losses last week. Simpson lost to Central 93-87 on Wednesday and fell to Buena Vista 88-82 on Saturday.
  2. 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, fifth-fewest in Division III. In the last eight games, the Storm are averaging just 8.5 turnovers per game -- down from 12.1 in the first nine.
  3. Sam Amsbaugh's second rebound against Central made him the seventh player in school history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career. The senior forward is currently 10th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,353 points and 12th with 514 rebounds.
  4. The Storm have received a big boost from their bench play since the start of the new year. In the last six games, Simpson's bench is averaging 25.8 ppg, up from 13.4 ppg in the first 11 games of the season. Junior guard John Barbee and sophomore forward Kyle Wagner have led the way, averaging 8.8 ppg each over the last six games.
  5. Sophomore point guard Conor Riordan has raised his production as of late. In the last six games, he is averaging 19.7 ppg, shooting 51.3 percent from the field has committed just six turnovers. He averaged 16.3 ppg and shot just over 49 percent from the field in the first 11 games of the season.

SERIES NOTES

Dubuque — Simpson and Dubuque are meeting for the 151st time in a series that dates back to the 1919-20 season … Dubuque leads the series 82-68 … Simpson has won two in a row, including an 87-83 win in Dubuque on Dec. 6 ... Simpson is 24-15 against Dubuque at Cowles Fieldhouse.

Nebraska Wesleyan — Simpson and Nebraska Wesleyan are meeting for the 49th time in a series that began in 1906-07 … Nebraska Wesleyan leads the series 28-20 … the Prairie Wolves have won seven in a row, including a 94-85 win in Lincoln on Dec. 2 … Simpson is 4-11 against Nebraska Wesleyan at Cowles Fieldhouse.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Dubuque — The Spartans and 11th-year head coach Robbie Sieverding are 10-8 overall and 2-7 in the Iowa Conference after going 2-1 last week, beating Luther (83-66) and Coe (66-58) and losing to Nebraska Wesleyan (85-84) last week. With a 50-point game under his belt this season, 5-10 senior guard TJ Lake leads the IIAC in scoring (24.6 ppg) and is coming off a 30-point effort in the loss to Nebraska Wesleyan.

Nebraska Wesleyan — The Prairie Wolves and fourth-year head coach Dale Wellman are 16-2 overall and tied for first place in the IIAC with a 7-2 mark in league play heading into Wednesday's meeting with Luther. Nebraska Wesleyan boasts a four-game winning streak and one of the nation's top offenses, putting up 97.9 ppg (7th in Division III). The Prairie Wolves also share the ball as well as any team in the nation, averaging 21.5 apg (3rd in Division III). Cooper Cook leads the team in scoring (18.4 ppg) and Deion Wells-Ross is one of the most well-rounded players in the league (13.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.2 apg).