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Loras edges Storm in wild finish

Sam Amsbaugh
Sam Amsbaugh

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Demond George made the go-ahead layup with 2 seconds left and Kyle Wagner couldn't tie the game from the free throw line with no time remaining as Loras beat the Simpson men's basketball team 87-86 in Iowa Conference action Wednesday night.

Simpson trailed 85-82 with less than 10 seconds to play when Sam Amsbaugh nailed a step-back 3 to tie the game. George found a seam in the defense on the ensuing possession, getting to the rim to put Loras ahead 87-85.

With Simpson out of timeouts, Ben Rajewski took the long outlet pass and got to the rim before time expired, taking a hard foul from Ryan DiCanio. Rajewski suffered an injury on the play and had to leave the game, putting Wagner at the line facing the heart of Loras' student section with a chance to tie. He missed his first attempt and made the second for the final margin.

Josh Ruggles scored a game-high 29 points and DiCanio had 16 to lead the Duhawks (18-6, 11-4), who won despite shooting nearly 10 percent worse from the field than Simpson. The win locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the IIAC Tournament.

Conor Riordan scored 27 points and didn't commit a turnover for the Storm (12-11, 8-7). Tyler Stumbo added 17 points and Amsbaugh flirted with a triple-double for the second straight game, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

The Storm shot better than 56 percent from the field but made just three, 3-pointers, a season-low.

Simpson led for a majority of the game and used an 11-2 run to build 11-point lead in the first half. Loras closed the half on a 10-4 spurt to make it 42-41 at the break. Loras took its first lead with 13:02 to play on a 3 by George and the lead changed hands seven times the rest of the way.

Tournament Talk
The Storm still haven't (officially) locked up a spot in the IIAC Tournament, but can do so with a win over Coe on Saturday or losses by either Dubuque (vs. Loras) or Central (vs. Wartburg). A win Saturday would also ensure the No. 4 seed and the right to host a first-round game. If Simpson loses and both Dubuque and Central win, there will be a four-way tie for fourth with Wartburg thrown in the mix. Simpson gets the No. 5-seed in that scenario. Note: Simpson holds tiebreakers over Wartburg, Dubuque and Central by virtue of its win over Nebraska Wesleyan. The Storm split meetings with each of those teams this season.

Key Players
Conor Riordan -- 27 pts, 3 rebs, 3 asts, 1 steal
Sam Amsbaugh -- 17 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts
Tyler Stumbo -- 17 pts, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 1 steal
Adam Reiter -- 9 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk
John Barbee -- 8 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast

Up Next
Saturday, Feb. 17 vs. Coe