INDIANOLA, Iowa – Nate Bahe scored a career-high 39 points to lead No. 1 ranked Nebraska Wesleyan to a hard fought 96-84 road victory at Simpson College as the Prairie Wolves remain undefeated and extend their winning streak to 27 games.
Playing at the site of their last loss in Cowles Fieldhouse, NWU had their winning streak put to the ultimate test several times in the second half. The Prairie Wolves led by as many as 17 points in the first half but Simpson cut the lead down to 49-43 in the second half.
In the second half, Simpson took advantage of a short-handed NWU team to chip away and eventually take the lead. A 3-pointer from Taylor Filbert at the 10:56 mark gave Simpson a 65-64 lead, their first of the entire game.
Bahe responded on the other end with a 3-pointer to end the Simpson run and get the Prairie Wolves on a run of their own. Over the next five minutes the Prairie Wolves went on a 17-2 run to get up by 14 points with 5:22 remaining. The scoring run was capped off by a thunderous fast break dunk from Bahe.
Just when NWU thought the game was out of reach, Simpson made another run. The Storm outscored NWU 12-2 over a two minute span to cut the lead down to four points at 83-79. The teams exchanged baskets and NWU maintained an 85-81 lead with 2:38 left in the game.
Nebraska Wesleyan then ramped up their defense and held Simpson to just three points the rest of the way and they were able to seal the game with perfect free throw shooting. Over the final 2:18 the Prairie Wolves were 7-7 at the line to earn the 12 point advantage.
The Prairie Wolves, who were playing without starters Jack Hiller and Nate Schimonitz for a second straight game, also saw starting center Clay Reimers spend most of the game in foul trouble as he played only ten minutes.
None of that mattered to the man of the night, junior Nate Bahe. Bahe was 13-16 from the field, 6-8 from 3-point range and 7-8 on free throw attempts to score his career-high 39 points. The 39 points scored equal the most points by any player in the American Rivers Conference this season and is the most by a NWU player since Trey Bardsley had 39 in the 2016 NAIA II Tournament. Bahe played all 40 minutes of the game adding four rebounds and four assists.
Cooper Cook also had a big game scoring 25 points on 6-10 shooting from 3-point range. Despite playing on a sore ankle, Ryan Garver added 15 points with six assists and five steals.
As a team, the Prairie Wolves shot 64.0 percent in the second half and ended the game at 59.6 percent. NWU was 13-29 from 3-point range and 15-18 at the free throw line.
Simpson (9-5, 3-3) was led by Kyle Wagner who scored 29 points making 4-9 from 3-point range. The Storm were 13-34 on 3-point attempts and shot 44.8 percent overall.
Nebraska Wesleyan returns home Saturday to host Wartburg College at 4 pm in Snyder Arena.