LINCOLN, Neb. – No. 1 Nebraska Wesleyan sent their seniors out in style as the Prairie Wolves rolled past Coe College 78-45 in American Rivers Conference men’s basketball action on Senior Night at Snyder Arena.
The Prairie Wolves held the Kohawks to 45 points, the fewest points allowed by NWU since Jan. 26, 2013. NWU shot well below their nation leading field goal percentage, but the Prairie Wolves were effective enough and converted 13 made 3-pointers in the big victory.
NWU jumped ahead 15-2 as Coe College didn’t make a field goal for nearly the opening eight minutes of the game. The Prairie Wolves were also cold from the field, but started the night with a big 3-pointer from senior Jake Scheef who got the start on Senior Night. NWU got up 10-0 holding the Kohawks scoreless for four minutes to start the game.
With both teams playing a zone defense, the Kohawks try to slow the pace of the high powered Prairie Wolves and take the air out of the ball. The plan didn’t work as they turned the ball over against the NWU 3-2 zone and shot only 28 percent from the field in the first half.
In the second half the Prairie Wolves went on a 14-4 run to get ahead by 22 points after a 3-pointer from Cooper Cook. Two straight fast break layups put NWU ahead by 25 points at the 16:17 mark of the second half and it didn’t get any better for the Kohawks as the game closed.
Senior Patrick Sullivan nailed a fast break 3-pointer with 3:40 left to make the lead 30 points. Fellow senior Ty Bardsley buried a 3-pointer from the corner on the next possession, then Sullivan made a grand exit with another 3-pointer.
Coach Wellman was able to take all five seniors out with one minute remaining allowing the Snyder Arena crowd to give the group a well-deserved standing ovation.
Coe College ended the game shooting 32.0 percent from the floor and committed 18 turnovers. NWU scored 26 points off those turnovers, meanwhile the Prairie Wolves had only five turnovers themselves.
Playing their final regular season home game, each senior contributed in the victory.
Cooper Cook recorded a double-double to lead the Prairie Wolves with 15 points and 14 rebounds. He also added to his career record total with three blocked shots.
Three other NWU players reached double figures in scoring. Ryan Garver had another all-around performance with 12 points, eight assists, five rebounds and five steals. Jack Hiller was 5-6 from the field to score 12 points and Clay Reimers added 10 points.
NWU closes out the regular season on Saturday with a trip to Decorah, Iowa to face Luther College.