Second-half woes costly again in men’s basketball loss to Central

by Brock Borgeson

INDIANOLA, Iowa – Junior Leif Olson scored a career-high 17 points for men’s basketball, although the Storm were outscored 44-31 in the second half as rival Central College topped Simpson College, 74-58 Wednesday night.

Olson was the lone Storm player in double-figures in scoring, the second consecutive game in which only one player has had double-figures in that category for Simpson.

“We weren’t able to put the ball in the hole,” head coach Charles Zanders said. “It’s simple, but at the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.”

The Dutch came storming out of the gate, taking a 13-0 lead within the first three minutes despite benching leading scorer, Colby Taylor, at the start of the game for disciplinary reasons.

Sophomore Cody Good would finally score Simpson’s first points at the 15:32 mark on a jump-shot from the base-line.

From that point on, Simpson would outscore Central (10-8, 3-4) 25-17 for the remainder of the half, as the Dutch lead was reduced to only 30-27 at halftime.

Both teams would go on runs to start the second half, as Simpson rebounded from an initial 38-30 deficit to cut the Dutch lead into 40-39 with 15:19 remaining in the game.

Unfortunately, that’s the closest Simpson (6-12, 1-6) would get to Central the rest of the way.

Central would shoot 51.9 percent from the floor in the second half as Nile Eckermann scored 16 of his 18 points in the second frame as the Dutch ran away with things, leading by as many as 22 points.

With the help of Eckermann’s four 3-pointers, the Dutch hit their team-average, 10 3-pointers per game, all the while winning the battle off the glass and down low.

“They knew that because we do so well switching on guards, that they were going to go into the posts and that’s what they did,” Zanders said. “I have a hard time seeing our depth in the post on the bench and we aren’t able to use it.”

Kyle Newendorp was one of the threats down low for the Dutch, recording a double-double on 14 points and 10 rebounds, as Colby Taylor scored 11 and reeled in seven boards off the bench.

Despite the win, Central lost starter Aaron Rosentiel six minutes into the first half as he went down with an ankle injury.

The senior from Oelwein, Iowa did not return to the game. An update on his injury is still pending.

Cody Good and Jamie Montgomery both had seven points off the bench for Simpson as the remaining four starters behind Olson only scored a combined 17 points.

“We may have to start mixing things up,” Zanders said. “Charles [Swain] hasn’t had a real good game in a month, and although we have a lot of youth on our team and can live with some of their mistakes, we just cannot score the basketball.”

Together Simpson shot only 33.6 percent, 3-15 from beyond the arc as they were held to 60 points or fewer in their past four games.

Tuesday was a continuation of a five-game losing streak for the Storm after knocking off Buena Vista University on Jan. 10.

Next up for Simpson is Wartburg College on Sat. Jan. 31 at Cowles Fieldhouse. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. as the Storm look to rebound from their 74-57 loss in Waverly earlier this month.

“We are just going to have to go back to work,” Zanders said. “We are going to go in tomorrow, practice, get a lift in, watch film, look at our mistakes and get out and get ready for Wartburg.”