INDIANOLA, Iowa - A renewed committment to defense helped the Simpson men's basketball team recover from a sluggish first half against Cornell on Wednesday night.
Simpson's suffocating defense allowed only 16 points in the second half and the Storm went on to a 67-50 win over the Rams in the conference-opener at Cowles Fieldhouse.
After allowing 97 points in a loss to Graceland on Saturday, head coach Charles Zanders took an unusual apprach to Monday's practice: he kept the hoops up. Not a single shot was taken.
"We decide to re-committ ourself to defense," Zanders said. "We set a goal of holding our opponents to 50 or less, which we did tonight. We can be a good defensive team if we all buy in."
Down 34-28 at halftime, Simpson opened the second half on a 14-2 run and smothered the Cornell offense. After shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, Cornell managed only 27 percent in the second, going 7-for-26.
"All we talked about at halftime was d-ing up," Zanders said. "I was really happy with our effort."
Cornelius Mosby (Chicago, Ill.) answered the call, swatting five of his career-high six blocks in the second half. He added 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Storm (2-3, 1-0 Iowa Conference), who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Despite getting free for only six shots on the night, Barragan made the most of his attempts by going 3-for-3 from downtown.
"Zack is going to see that kind of defensive pressure night in and night out," Zanders said. "What his teammates did was make the extra pass and that's when he got open."
Alex Miller scored 15 points and Nick Bobb had eight rebounds to lead the Rams (1-4, 0-1).
After a Miller layup to start the second half gave the Rams an eight-point advantage, Simpson scored the next 14 points. Barragan's first 3 of the game gave Simpson the lead for good at 39-36 with 14:15 left in the game.
Simpson faces Wartburg (3-4, 0-1) in Waverly on Saturday, Dec. 3. Tipoff will follow the women's game, which is set for 2 p.m.