Storm split at Dubuque Holiday Classic

Storm split at Dubuque Holiday Classic

by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

DUBUQUE – Before even starting Iowa Conference play, the Simpson men’s basketball team surpassed last year’s win total of six games after going 1-1 at the Dubuque Classic on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Storm (7-4) fell to Mt. Mercy 78-74 but nearly reversed that scored with a 78-72 win over Illinois Institute of Technology the next day.

Sam Amsbaugh averaged 19.5 points per game across the two games on his way to a spot on the all-tournament team.

Tuesday, Dec. 29 – L, Mt. Mercy 78, Simpson 74

There were six lead changes and four ties but Simpson was on the wrong side of the ledger at the final whistle.

Amsbaugh scored a career-high 24 points in only 21 minutes, being backed up by 14 from Austin Turner, although Simpson shot only 6 of 27 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range.

Turner split two free throws at the line with 12 seconds left in the game, bringing Simpson within 76-74, but the Mustangs (10-4) sealed the game at the line.

Four players scored in double-figures for Mt. Mercy, led by 17-point performances from Tre Wagner and Mychael Brawner.

Mt. Mercy has been receiving votes in the NAIA Division II Coaches Poll this year, a respectable loss for Simpson.

Wednesday, Dec. 30 – W, Simpson 78, IIT 72

Dillon Gretzky put Simpson up 48-47 with 15:48 to go in the second half, and while the Illinois Institute of Technology (2-11) got within one point three more times, Simpson was resilient as they hung on for the win.

IIT was the better team early, jumping out to a game-high 19-11 at the 14:05 mark in the first half. Simpson responded to take the 41-40 lead at the half, going 5 of 12 from 3-point range in that time.

DJ Dafney and Ryan Skaar reinforced Simpson’s attack in the second half, scoring eight points apiece to stave off IIT.

Gretzky finished with a team-high 19 points, followed by 15 from Sam Amsbaugh off the bench.

IIT’s Sam Rarick had 29 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Looking ahead

Simpson kicks off the IIAC slate on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at Buena Vista.