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Storm bench comes up big in comeback win

Logan Hamm
Logan Hamm

INDIANOLA, Iowa – The reserves on the Simpson men's basketball team got an earful at halftime. They responded by helping put the game away in the second half.

Elijah Knox scored 19 points and handed out eight assists, Logan Hamm sparked the bench in the second half and Simpson came back from 16 down to beat Graceland 82-71 on Tuesday night.

Knox scored 13 points in the second half and Hamm came off the bench to go a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc for the Storm (3-4), who won their second game in a row.

After getting outscored 18-4 in the first half, Simpson's bench flipped the script in the second half, outscoring Graceland 22-12.

"We had to fuss and scream a little bit at halftime and I really got into our reserve guys because they were killing us," head coach Charles Zanders said. "For them to step up in the second half … I will give a lot of credit to them. It takes a special player to hold your job as a reserve and take some pride to be able to come in and produce and tonight we did that."

Hamm finished with 12 points, leading the effort from the Storm reserves. AJ Arrington added seven and Ryan Stumbo and Jared Stansbury each hit a 3, contributing to Simpson's 8-for-11 performance from beyond the arc.

"Logan's 3-pointers really opened the game up," Zanders said. "Stumbo hit a huge 3 after a big offensive rebound, the confidence started to go throughout the team and we took control."

After a pair of free throws by Austin Harper gave Graceland a 37-21 lead with 4:38 left in the first half, Simpson went on an 11-2 run in the final 4:10 to close the gap to seven at halftime. Hamm hit his first 3 of the game with 2 seconds left in the half.

That momentum carried over into the second frame as the Storm went on a 9-0 run to start the half. Trailing 45-43, Hamm hit three 3s in a row to give Simpson a 52-47 lead it would not relinquish.

Simpson knocked down all 13 free throws it attempted in the second half and went 18-for-21 on the night.

"If we had knocked down free throws [like we did tonight] we could have two more wins," Zanders said. "For us to knock down 18 tells us two things: it tells us what we are focusing on as a coaching staff and it says we are getting better."

Austin Harper came off the bench to score a game-high 20 points for the Yellowjackets (3-8), who dropped their seventh game in a row.

Simpson won't play another home game until Jan. 12. Next up is a trip to Naperville, Ill. when the Storm face North Central at 7:30 p.m.

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