#1 Prairie Wolves Roll to 101-75 Opening Round Win

More news about: Nebraska Wesleyan

INCOLN, Neb. – No. 1 ranked Nebraska Wesleyan took the first step towards repeating as NCAA III National Champions on Friday night (March 1) taking down Eureka College 101-75 in front of a packed Snyder Arena in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA III Tournament.
NWU advances to the second round where they will face No. 13 St. Thomas on Saturday night (March 2) at 7 pm.  St. Thomas defeated UW-La Crosse 80-66 in the first game of the night to set up the top 15 matchup in the round of 32.
The Prairie Wolves overwhelmed the Red Devils who were making their first ever NCAA III Tournament appearance.
Nebraska Wesleyan jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game then built up a 30-9 advantage with over ten minutes remaining in the half.  The Prairie Wolves offense was clicking on all cylinders getting easy looks inside, while the 3-2 zone defense caused the high scoring Eureke team problems.
Eureka came into Friday's game averaging 93 points a game ranking 6th in the nation in scoring.  However, NWU held the Red Devils to just 24 first half points as they lead 55-24 at the break.  NWU shot 59.5 percent from the field in the first half, while Eureka was at 33.3 percent and 4-16 on 3-pointers.
In the second half, the Prairie Wolves got up by as many as 34 points early in the half then cruised the rest of the way.  Eureka didn't quit and actually outscored the Prairie Wolves 51-46 in the second half. 
Nebraska Wesleyan had 92 points with over six minutes left in the game, then reserves played out the stretch.
Four Prairie Wolves players scored in double figures, with two getting over 20 points.  Nate Schimonitz came out very strong and led the team with 24 points.  He was 8-11 from the floor and dished out six assists in his 26 minutes on the floor. 
Last year's NCAA III Final Four MVP Cooper Cook ended the game with 23 points and eight rebounds.  Cook was 10-14 from the floor and 3-4 on 3-point attempts.  He had five offensive rebounds and scored several easy putbacks on second chance points.
Ryan Garver posted his 10th double-double of the year with 14 points and 12 assists.  Garver, the 2019 American Rivers MVP, was 7-8 shooting and pulled down six rebounds.  Jack Hiller was the other player in double figures scoring 12 points.
Dakota Bennington had a huge game in his final game of the season for Eureka.  Bennington scored a game-high 28 points, including a highlight alley-oop dunk in the second half.  Hank Thomas scored 17 points for the Red Devils.
Nebraska Wesleyan and St. Thomas will be meeting for the 6th time on Saturday and the fourth time in the NCAA III Tournament.  The last matchup was in 2000 when the Tommies knocked NWU out of the 1st round of the NCAA III Tournament.