Even as the academic calendar had a break from action, men’s basketball continued to hit the court.
Despite shooting 46.3 percent between Nov. 25-29, Simpson men’s basketball went 0-3, falling to 3-4 on the season after losses to William Penn University, Concordia-College-Moorhead (Minn.), and Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Nov. 25: William Penn, 92; Simpson, 76
Men’s basketball’s three-game win streak came to a close as the Storm dropped a high-scoring affair to perennial NAIA contender, William Penn University.
The Storm lead only once, 27-25 at the 8:36 mark in the first half as the Statesmen relied on 84 points from four players.
Despite the loss, head coach Charles Zanders was encouraged by the performance at such a tough place to play.
“We knew William Penn would be a tough game,” Zanders said. “It was, but we stayed competitive throughout. They were just on fire. We benefited from playing in a hostile environment and after shaking the coach’s hand at the end of the game, he commented: ‘You’ve got a good team, coach.’”
Simpson (3-2) outscored the Statesmen 41-2 in bench points as Charles Swain lead with 18 points and Ryan Skaar added 15 on five threes.
Sophomore DJ Dafney continued to do a nice job filling the shoes of the injured Tyler Anderson. The 6’ 2” lefty from West Des Moines had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.
Nov. 28: Concordia-Moorhead, 84; Simpson, 56
Simpson lost their opening game at the 26th Annual Snyder Classic in Lincoln, Neb. as they ran into an experienced Concordia College – Moorhead (Minn.) team.
The Cobbers shot 47.6 percent from the floor, including 9-14 from downtown as the Storm were downed by 24.
Freshman Sam Amsbaugh had another good game in his inaugural year. The freshman from West Fork High School lead Simpson with 12 points while adding four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
Simpson (3-3) was outrebounded 39-29 as the Storm are still looking for their first game in which they lead in rebounds.
Zanders commented on this issue as he had papers covered in rebounding drills strewn across his office.
“We’re playing athletic teams and it’s going to be hard to rebound,” Zanders said. “But we are as big as anyone we’ve played, and at the end of the day rebounding is about commitment and effort. We are just going to have to keep drilling this into our players because we haven’t found it yet.”
6’ 7” freshman, Cody Isabel, returned to lineup after suffering a concussion on Nov. 16. He only played six minutes, still trying to recover from the concussion.
Nov. 29: Nebraska Wesleyan 110; Simpson 97
Storm men’s basketball nearly made school history this past Saturday, draining 14 3-pointers, a second all-time best for the men’s basketball program.
50 percent (14-28 3PT FG) wasn’t enough for Simpson against the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves, who endorsed a “shoot before you turn the ball over” offensive philosophy.
Nebraska Wesleyan was even hotter as they set a school record with 23 3-pointers, going 23-41 from 3-point range.
“They’re a poor man’s Grinnell College,” Zanders said. “The night before they went 11-48 from three, and here we score 97 points, have 20 assists and 10 steals, and we get beat by 13. It’s frustrating, but that’s why I love this game. Anyone at any time can have a night like this.”
Grinnell native Dylan Gretzky broke out for 25 points while reeling in a team-high 7 rebounds. Gretzky was named to the all-tournament team.
Moving Forward – Storm without Tyler Anderson, Chad Gutschenritter
Simpson played AIB College of Business last Tuesday, although results were not in for this game in time.
They will square off with the fast-paced, three-point firing Pioneers of Grinnell College, featuring national sensation Jack Taylor on Dec. 13
Simpson will potentially have to do so without starting guard, Chad Gutschenritter, who has taken a leave of absence from the team.
Reasons for his absence are unknown.
“We lost Chad as of now as he sorts through some personal issues,” Zanders said. “He’s not in trouble, and we’ll welcome him back when he’s ready, but he’s going to take some time dealing with these things.”
Men’s basketball will have to rely on Austin Turner and Brook Thompson to fill in Gutschenritter’s shoes, who’s averaging 28.7 minutes and 6.8 points per game.
“We’ve dealt with some adversity,” Zanders said. “When you lose a couple games, you see people’s true colors. But we’ve got to pound it back inside and try to follow the next-man-up mentality and play by committee.”