Eighth-ranked Briar Cliff went on a 17-0 run midway through the first half as Nebraska Wesleyan was held without a point for 7:32 and the Prairie Wolves never could recover as the Chargers went on for a 60-45 victory in GPAC men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 29) at Snyder Arena in Lincoln.
NWU (5-14, 1-11 GPAC) scored a season-low 45 points and was held to 34.9 percent from the floor and just 53.3 percent at the free throw line (8-15). The loss is the ninth straight for the Prairie Wolves and the 11th straight GPAC loss.
Briar Cliff (20-5, 9-4 GPAC) picks up its 20th win of the season, but it wasn't without a fight.
Nebraska Wesleyan looked poised to pull the upset of the No. 8 Chargers for the second straight season. NWU led the first part of the game and extended the lead to 16-10 on a 3-pointer by Andy Schweitzer with 11:25 to play. From there, NWU would not score again until Mitch Liberty hit a 3-pointer from the corner at the 3:53 mark. During that stretch, Briar Cliff reeled off 17 straight points to go ahead 27-10.
NWU closed the gap to five points at halftime with the score 29-24. The lead remained five for most of the first half as Jim Lance hit a lay-up with just over 10 minutes left to make the score 40-35.
On the very next possession, Jake Shipley converted an alley-oop dunk and the Chargers got new life. They would go on a quick 9-2 run to get the lead to double digits and NWU could get no closer.
Only one NWU reached double figures as Bryce Arp had 11 points going 3-3 from 3-point range. Jim Lance had nine points, but was just 5-9 at the free throw line.
Jake Shipley paced Briar Cliff with 13 points, while Kyle Semprini (12) and Chase Vander Feen (10) both came off the bench to reach double figures.
Nebraska Wesleyan will now hit the road to face GPAC rival Doane College on Wednesday night (Feb. 2) in Crete.