The Simpson men’s basketball team (3-12, 1-3) dropped 17 points in overtime to notch their first conference win on Saturday against Luther (8-7, 0-4).
Struggling on the rebounds early in the game, posting 11 to Luther’s 23 by halftime, Dillon Gretzky and Charles Swain took charge on the offensive end by getting to the rim. Gretzky had 8 points and Swain notched 9 by the half.
The men were down 9 points midway through the first half before finding a groove to close that gap to 3 points at halftime.
The most crucial part of the second half was found on offense for the Storm. The team drove hard in the paint causing Luther to foul time and again, as they finished with 34 personal fouls on the game.
The high volume of fouls committed by Luther sent Simpson to the free throw line 51 times. The Storm cashed in 40 of these attempts. Swain made all 15 of his free throw attempts and finished with a team high 24 points.
“In our program we have a saying, ‘If you don’t make free throws you don’t deserve to win,’” Coach Charles Zanders said.
Though sophomore guard Chad Gutschenritter couldn’t get the final shot of regulation to drop, he was a leader on the floor in the overtime period. He joined Gretzky and Swain in the games 20-point club. The trio accounted for 64 of the Storm’s 95 points.
The quickly attained overtime lead meant no looking back for the men as the final horn sounded to give them the 95-91 victory.
This marks Zanders’ first win against Luther in his four years as the men’s basketball coach. He is anticipating the rest of the conference season, saying it’s such a close league to compete in.
The men will travel to Pella on Wednesday to face the Central Dutch (9-6, 2-2).
Be sure to follow The Simpsonian’s athletics’ twitter feed (@SimpAthletics) all season long for continuous updates and live coverage at all games.