Storm beat Luther, lock up No. 4 seed

Junior forward Sam Amsbaugh
Junior forward Sam Amsbaugh

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Sam Amsbaugh scored 16 points and the Simpson men's basketball team held off a pesky Luther squad 74-62 on Wednesday, getting some outside help to secure the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Iowa Conference Tournament. 

Sabonis Smith scored 13 points and Ryan Skaar added 12 for the Storm (16-9, 9-7), who will host a first-round game in the IIAC Tournament for the second year in a row under Brad Bjorkgren. Simpson's win combined with Dubuque's loss to Wartburg gave the Storm sole possession of fourth place in the league standings.

Simpson never trailed but allowed Luther to pull even twice in the second half after leading by as many as 12 in the first. Amsbaugh converted a layup to break the first tie and Smith nailed a 3 to break the second. He scored five-straight after a fast-break layup to spark a 10-0 run. A conventional three-point play by Nick Noah closed the spurt with Simpson leading 49-39 with 13:32 to play.

Luther got back within two points and trailed 57-53 with 5 minutes to play. Jamie Montgomery hit a deep 3 from the top of the key -- his only field goal of the game -- to spark a 17-9 run over the final 4:16, giving the Storm a season-sweep of Luther.

Jared Nicolaisen finished with 16 points to lead the Norse (4-18, 2-13).

With his performance Wednesday, Amsbaugh is now just 20 points shy of reaching 1,000 for his career. The junior from Sheffield, Iowa is looking to become the 20th Simpson player to reach the milestone. 

The first round of the IIAC Tournament will take place Tuesday, Feb. 21. Start time and opponent are yet to be determined.