The Maryville College men's basketball team could not comeback from a tough first half that featured 19 Nebraska Wesleyan points off 13 Fighting Scots turnovers. The Prairie Wolves advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III National Tournament after a 94-70 victory over Maryville College on Friday evening in St. Louis, Missouri.
A Calvin Songster basket at the 11-minute mark tied the game at 15 before Nebraska Wesleyan went on an 18-0 run over the next six minutes vaulting to a 33-15 advantage. A Tanner Spalding basket combined with treys by Emanuelle Garcia and Calvin Songster helped MC keep pace, but the Prairie Wolves closed the first half out-scoring the Scots 35-13.
Maryville went to the intermission down 48-26. Despite winning the battle of the boards, Maryville could only manage a 34% effort (10-for-29) from the floor. Nebraska Wesleyan countered with a 56% shooting attack (17-for-30) that featured eight three-pointers.
The Scots pulled to within 19 on three occasions in the second period, but could not overcome their first half miscues. The Prairie Wolves pushed to as much as a 29 point lead early in the final stanza and settled for the 24 point tournament advancing victory.
Maryville (22-7) was paced by Dante Hoppa's double-double effort. He deposited four three-pointers while finishing with a team-high 18 points and team-high 10 rebounds. Emanuelle Garcia added a trio of treys finishing with 13 points off the bench. Emier Bowman added 11 points and eight boards in the loss.
Nebraska Wesleyan (25-3) advances in the NCAA tournament after all five starters finished with double-digit scoring. Cooper Cook went 7-for-9 from the floor including three from long distance for a game-high 19 points. Ryan Garver finished with a double-double posting 18 points and a game-high 14 boards while dishing out eight assists. Jack Hiller and Nate Schimonitz each added 15 points while Deion Wells-Ross tossed in a dozen in the win.
The Prairie Wolves will advance to face the winner of the Aurora University/Washington University-St. Louis matchup in NCAA second round action.