WAVERLY, Iowa -- Conor Riordan scored 20 points and the Simpson men's basketball team nearly erased a 22-point deficit in a 92-81 loss to Wartburg in the American Rivers Conference opener Wednesday.
Simpson pulled within seven in the closing minutes but couldn't fully overcome a slow start.
Tyler Stumbo scored 13 points off the bench for the Storm (4-2, 0-1), who saw a four-game winning streak come to a close. Adam Reiter had 10 points in just 10 minutes of play before fouling out with 13 minutes left in the game.
Jaran Sabus scored a game-high 33 points for the Knights (5-1, 1-0). His free throw with 16:36 left in the second half gave Wartburg a 59-37 lead, its largest of the game.
Simpson responded with a 10-2 run, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Nick Janssen to cut into the lead. Wartburg had an answer for every Simpson run, though, maintaining at least a three-possession lead throughout.
Kyle Wagner canned a 3 from the left wing to cut the lead to 86-79 and Riordan made it 88-81 on a layup with 1:18 left. The comeback hopes came to an end when a Sabus layup extended the lead back to nine with under a minute left.
Janssen and Wagner had three 3-pointers apiece for the Storm.
Wartburg went just 1-for-7 from the field to start the game before making 8 of its next 10 shots to build a 26-9 lead. The slow start hurt Simpson, which outscored Wartburg 72-66 from the 9:01 mark in the first half.
The Storm travel to Luther on Saturday, Dec. 1. Start time is set for 4 p.m. in Decorah.