DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Simpson men's basketball team made a late run but it wasn't enough to knock off the top team in the league as Dubuque foiled the upset bid with a 76-66 win on Wednesday.
Trailing for most of the second half, the Storm (3-15, 1-6 Iowa Conference) mounted a 10-3 run that made it a 68-64 game with 3:03 left.
Simpson had a chance to make it a one possession game after a Dubuque miss, but a turnover and a jumper by Chris Frazier gave Dubuque a six-point lead with 1:18 left, allowing the Spartans (17-1, 6-1) to secure the win at the free throw line.
Gage Heffernan scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Andre Norris added 22 points as Dubuque remained one game ahead of Central in the league standings.
Despite trailing since the 6:35 mark in the first half, Simpson stayed within striking distance and made it a game in the final minutes. Swain's third 3 of the game put a stop to a 10-0 run by Dubuque and triggered Simpson's own run. Austin Stumbo had a lay-in, Chad Gutschenritter added a pair of free throws and Swain's fourth 3 made it a four point game with just 3 minutes left.
The turnover with 1:40 left proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Storm, who will face an uphill battle in the race for a berth in the conference tournament as they prepare to go through the league slate for the second time.
Simpson begins the second go-around on Saturday when it heads to Decorah to face Luther. The Storm's lone win in conference play came against the Norse (11-7, 3-4), who beat Buena Vista 78-71 on Wednesday. Simpson edged out a 95-91 overtime win at home in the first meeting on Jan. 18.