Spartans Shocked by Simpson's Late Rally

Dec 6, 2017

Box Score

DUBUQUE, Iowa – After digging themselves a 16 point deficit in the first half, the University of Dubuque men’s basketball team rallied in the second half, but the Simpson College Storm pulled it out late and the Spartans fell 87-83.

The Spartans got off to a slow start offensively, not breaking double figures until the game was over nine and a half minute old. The Simpson lead grew to 16 with 2:38 remaining in the first half, when Jayden Clayton came in off the bench for UD and provided a spark, scoring UD’s final seven points of the first half in the final 2:03 to make it a 46-31 game in favor of the Storm heading into halftime.

TJ Lake started the comeback in the second half, scoring 10 straight points for the Spartans in a two minute span before the Spartans finally cut the deficit to single digits for good on as Jamaree Atwater scored two of his team high 26 points on layup with 12:38 remaining.  UD then went on a 12-1 run to take their first lead of the game with 7:55 left. UD would eventually build the lead up to seven points with 4:35 remaining before the Storm would inch their way back in. With the Spartans leading 83-79 with 1:15 reaming, Conor Riordan drilled a three pointer for the Storm to cut the UD lead to one. After a UD turnover on the following possession, the Spartans committed a foul, giving the Storm two free throws which they converted on both to take a 84-83. With 11 seconds remaining Jamaree Atwater tried to give the Spartans the lead, driving to the hoop and drawing a lot of contact but there was no call and missed the layup and the Storm grabbed the rebound and would seal the game on the other end with more free throws.

Three other players joined Atwater in double figures, with TJ Lake right behind him, finishing with 22 points and making all six of his free throws. Peter Ragen, starting his first game of the season had 11 points while adding five rebounds and three blocked shots. Marcus McDaniel finished with 10 points. To go along with his team high in points, Atwater also led UD with nine rebounds, seven on them came on the defensive end and grabbed two of the Spartans five steals.

After shooting 41.9% in the first half, the Spartans improved to 52.8% in the second half, including making six of their eight three pointers in the second half. However, the Spartans allowed the Storm to shoot above 50% in both halves and finish at 54.2% for the game. Another key difference in this game was Simpson got to the free throw line 30 times in the game, with UD only getting their 12 times.

The Spartans travel to Cedar Falls on Sunday to take on Division I Northern Iowa at 4:00 p.m. in the McLeod Center. The game will be available to stream on ESPN3 (WatchESPN).