INDIANOLA, Iowa – DJ Dafney had a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double and provided a big spark with back-to-back three-point plays in the second half as the Simpson men's basketball team remained undefeated at home with an 80-76 win over Monmouth (Ill.) on Monday afternoon.
Ryan Skaar and Leif Olson had 14 points apiece as the Storm (6-3) improved to 3-0 at Cowles Fieldhouse. Skaar went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line, where Simpson shot better than 80 percent as a team (29-for-36).
With his career-high 19 points, Dafney became the fifth different player to lead the team in scoring in six wins.
"A good team will have someone different step up every night, and we've had a different person step up in each of our wins," head coach Brad Bjorkgren said.
Will Jones had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Riley Blea added 17 points for the Scots (6-3), who saw a two-game winning streak come to a close. Jones came in averaging nearly 25 points over the last three games, but was held in check by Skaar and Dillon Gretzky.
"We wanted him to beat us from the perimeter and we did a good job on ball screens," Bjorkgren said.
Simpson trailed by four with under 5 minutes to play when Dafney converted the first of three consecutive three-point plays. Dafney had the first two and the third came from Gretzky, who gave the Storm a 64-59 lead with 3:25 left.
Austin Turner provided the dagger when he nailed a deep three from the right wing that made it 67-60 with 2:48 left. The jumper followed a loose-ball scramble that was won by Gretzky.
"DJ really got us going," Bjorkgren said. "All of a sudden we were protecting the lead when it looked like we were going to have to fight uphill a little bit."
A pair of free throws by Olson capped off the 15-1 run that led to a free throw contest to close it out. Simpson went 13-for-16 from the line down the stretch to keep Monmouth just out of reach.
"You have to make free throws at the end to win ball games and we did that," Bjorkgren said.
Lift off the bench: Simpson got a big boost off the bench when Jamie Montgomery hit three straight 3s in the second half. His first 3 stopped a 9-0 Monmouth run and gave Simpson a 49-48 lead with 9:33 to play. He hit two more that gave Simpson a four-point lead. He finished a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
It was over when: Turner hit his only 3 of the game with 2:48 to play, giving Simpson a 67-60 led. Neither team had led by more than five to that point.
Up next: Simpson goes to Dubuque for the Jon Davison Classic on Dec. 29-30. There, the Storm will play Mount Mercy and Illinois Tech.