INDIANOLA, Iowa -- After a sluggish start in the first half, the Simpson men's basketball team erased a 13-point deficit in the second stanza against Loras, but could not pull off the comeback and lost 82-78 at home on Saturday.
The Storm (6-4, 1-2 A-R-C) shot out to a quick 4-1 advantage to begin the American Rivers Conference thriller. The Duhawks (7-1, 3-0 A-R-C) executed a 12-2 scoring spree to extend their lead to 16-9 to grab some breathing room at the 15:29 mark. Simpson got back to within four at 16-12, but the visitors went back up by eight at 20-12.
A basket by Parker Lange and a made free throw from Kyle Wagner brought the Storm to within one at 24-23 with just over nine minutes to go in the first half. Over the next two minutes of play, Loras would tack on eight more points for a nine-point cushion at 32-23.
With the contest sitting at 52-39 coming out of intermission, Simpson scored the game's first seven points as Conor Riordan orchestrated the run with five by himself. Loras would go on an 8-2 run to push the buffer back to 12 points with 15:12 left to go.
Over the next five minutes of game action, Adam Reiter and Riordan teamed up for a 9-0 spurt to bring the battle to within three before Jared Bacon connected on his only triple of the game to cap off a 12-0 spree to tie the game at 60-60 with 10:37 to go.
Loras would reel off five straight points to halt the momentum, but the Storm hung tight to keep the game tied at 69-69. A free throw by Reiter would place the game in another lock at 74-74, but the offense would stall at the end with three missed free throws.
As a unit, Simpson shot 44.4% from the field and 35.3% from long range. Neither team shot well at the charity stripe as the squads combined to make 61.0% of their attempts, while the Storm ended 16 of 27.
Riordan was the top scorer for Simpson with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while classmate Reiter notched his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 boards.
The Storm embark on their West Coast trip on Dec. 17-18 with two games in San Diego, Calif. Simpson takes on UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday and follows that up with a showing against Redlands on Wednesday.