Alex Linden, Sports Information Director
LINCOLN – Nate Schimonitz buried a step-back jump shot with 7.9 seconds remaining to give Nebraska Wesleyan a four-point advantage and the Prairie Wolves were able to hold on to earn a hard fought 82-76 victory over Coe College on Wednesday night in American Rivers men’s basketball action.
The Prairie Wolves led, 78-76, and had the ball with 15 seconds left coming out of a timeout. Schimonitz, who finished with a game-high 31 points, dribble on the left wing then stepped back to bury a shot from 17 feet.
Coe quickly called timeout then tried a full court pass that was stolen by Jack Hiller who sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
With the victory, 11th-ranked Nebraska Wesleyan moves to 14-2 overall and 7-0 in American Rivers Conference action as they extend their streak to 19 straight conference home victories.
The Kohawks (8-7, 3-3) led by three points with just under five minutes left in the game. With the Prairie Wolves trailing by one with 3:30 to play, Clay Reimers pulled down an offensive rebound and slammed the ball home to make it a one point game in favor of NWU. It was the second straight dunk for Reimers that helped ignite the home crowd.
After a foul on a rebound, Reimers made one of two free throws giving NWU the 76-74 lead with 3:10 left. A turnover by the Kohawks gave NWU the possession, but they missed a pair of free throws to give Coe another chance. Jared Kruse hit a layup with 1:46 remaining to tie the game.
On the next possession, Reimers drove the lane and found Reimers open under the basket and he was able to convert to put NWU ahead. The Kohawks missed a 3-pointer that would have given them the lead and Dylan Dirks grabbed the loose ball rebound that would setup the winning shot. Jack Hiller had a good look from 3-point land but the ball went off the rim, however Nate Bahe battled hard and secured the offensive rebound.
It was a tightly contested contest throughout the game with the largest lead of seven points by the Prairie Wolves early in the second half. Coe was able to lead by as many as five points in the second half. The game was tied 11 times and the lead changed 14 times.
For a while it was a two-man contest between Schimonitz of Nebraska Wesleyan and Austin Roth of Coe. Schimonitz scored 17 points in the first half then went to the bench with two fouls. He came out in the second half and added 14 points to finish with his 31. Roth had a huge second half, going 7-11 from the floor to end the game with 27 points.
As a team, the Prairie Wolves shot 50.8 percent from the floor but once again struggled from long range making 7-24 on their 3-point attempts. Coe was 11-25 on 3-pointers and shot 50.0 percent for the game.
NWU took care of the basketball, committing only six turnovers while holding a plus-5 advantage in rebounding including 11 offensive rebounds.
Clay Reimers scored 13 points with eight rebounds and four blocked shots, while Nate Bahe added 12 points and six rebounds as the other two NWU players in double figures.
After three straight games at home, the Prairie Wolves now hit the road to face Central College on Saturday in Pella, Iowa.