WAVERLY – Wartburg College fended off a second-half rally from Simpson College during a 69-64 win Tuesday night at Levick Arena.
Wartburg (1-1) carried a 39-28 lead into halftime, and it led by as many as 16 points in the second half. Junior Davis Roquet posted eight points, and all them were critical buckets for Wartburg. The 6-foot-5 forward twice handed Wartburg a 16-point lead in the second half, including a second-chance jumper to push the score to 50-34 with 15 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation.
But then Simpson (0-1) began to close the gap. A 3-point field goal from Kade Tatkenhorst midway through the second half cut the margin to 50-37. Tatkenhorst was clutch in the second half, knocking down three 3s, including one to pull Simpson within eight points at 63-55 with just over three minutes to play in the game. Tatkenhorst led Simpson with 16 points.
Simpson got within four points after a 3-pointer by Bryce Yoder inside the final minute. But Wartburg stood tall defensively to seal the game and its first win of the season.
Knights junior Mitch Gehling posted a team-high nine points and added seven rebounds and swiped two steals. Senior Max Smith Drahos, juniors Drew Olson and Keagan John and freshman Trent Allard totaled eight points apiece. Drahos swiped a team-high six steals, while Allard had one block. Redshirt senior Ryan Stulken hauled in a team-best eight rebounds, while sophomore and former Charles City standout Jack Molstead dished out three assists.
Wartburg held Simpson to just 35.4% shooting for the game, while also winning the rebounding battle 54-35, including a 36-26 advantage on the defensive glass.
Wartburg concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule at 2 p.m. Saturday at the University of Dubuque.