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MBB Preview: Storm travel to Luther for A-R-C clash

Ben Rajewski
Ben Rajewski

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- The Simpson Storm men's basketball team travels to face the Luther Norse on Saturday, Dec. 1. Start time is set for 4 p.m. at the Regents Center.

Simpson (4-2, 0-1) at Luther (2-2, 0-0)
Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 | 4 p.m.
Regents Center | Decorah, Iowa
Live Video/Live Stats

Simpson and Luther are meeting for the 157th time in a series that dates back to the 1923-24 season. The Norse hold an 82-74 lead in the all-time series, but haven't beaten the Storm since Feb. 4, 2015. Simpson has won the last six meetings by an average of 13.7 points.

1.31.18 — W, 92-75 (Decorah)
1.3.18 — W, 83-60 (Indianola)

Luther and 15th-year head coach Mark Franzen open conference play with a 2-2 record after a 78-58 win at Martin Luther on Nov. 28. Luther's other win was an 82-80 triumph against Bethany Lutheran on Nov. 17, a team that beat Simpson in the season opener. Luther is last in the league in scoring (74.0 ppg) but ranks third in defense (72.0 ppg). The Norse are led by 6-1 senior guard Jared Nicolaisen (16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and 6-2 sophomore guard Gage Thompson (13.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Nicolaisen is coming off a 13-point, seven-rebound effort in the win over Martin Luther.

• Simpson saw its winning streak halted at four games after a 92-81 loss to Wartburg in the American Rivers Conference opener on Wednesday. Conor Riordan scored 20 points to lead the Storm, who trailed by as many as 22 before cutting the deficit to seven in the final minutes.
• Since committing a season-high 18 turnovers in the season-opening 103-100 overtime loss to Bethany Lutheran, the Storm have trimmed their giveaways to just 11.8 per game in the last five games.
• Point guard Conor Riordan landed on the first Team of the Week after averaging 22.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals in the first four games of the season.
• Riordan is second in the American Rivers in both scoring (22.5 ppg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.8). He has scored in double figures in 24 consecutive games.
Adam Reiter is an early candidate for Simpson's most improved player. The 6-foot-8 junior has increased his production exponentially in 2018-19, averaging 12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocks.

Simpson hosts Buena Vista on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at Cowles Fieldhouse.

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