Storm men lose heartbreaker at Loras despite Amsbaugh's 25

Storm men lose heartbreaker at Loras despite Amsbaugh's 25

DUBUQUE, Iowa - A game-tying lob attempt with one-tenth of a second left went off the mark and the Simpson men's basketball team couldn't complete a big second-half comeback, losing to Loras 89-87 on Saturday.

Sam Amsbaugh had 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Storm (15-10, 8-6 Iowa Conference), who claimed the No. 3 seed in next week's Iowa Conference Tournament. The Storm host sixth-seeded Buena Vista on Tuesday at Cowles Fieldhouse.

Simpson trailed by as many as 13 and was down 76-64 with 7:30 left before mounting a 15-1 run. DJ Dafney pulled Simpson within one on a layup with 5:33 left, Dillon Gretzky stole the inbound and Cody Good knocked down a 3 from the right corner to give Simpson a 79-77 lead.

Gretzky scored 14 points, Sabonis Smith had 14 off the bench on 3-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc and Leif Olson provided a boost with nine points - all in the second half. 

The teams traded baskets until Danny Quinn made the eventual game-winning layup wtih 28 seconds left. Simpson had three chances to tie or take lead, but Ryan Skaar's 3-pointer from the left corner was blocked and Austin Turner's desperation 3 missed. Turner's miss went out of bounds off Loras, giving Simpson the chance for a lob on the baseline with one-tenth of a second left.

Mirko Grcic had 26 points and George Demond added 14 off the bench with four 3-pointers for the Duhawks (13-12, 8-6), who enter the conference tournament with the No. 4 seed. The team's leading scorer, Justin VanWambeke, was held to 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting.

Simpson, Loras and Wartburg finished the season in a three-way for second place in the league standings at 8-6 in conference play. Simpson's No. 3 seed is the highest for the program since 2004, allowing the Storm to host a tournament game for the first time since 2011.

Simpson led 42-40 at the break and held a 44-41 lead early in the second half when Loras mounted a 15-0 run. Demond hit two 3-pointers during the charge and Ryan Dicanio made a pair of free throws to give the Duhawks a 55-44 lead.

Up next: Simpson hosts Buena Vista in the first round of the IIAC Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Cowles Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.