ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
The Tabor College men’s basketball team closed the book on the fall semester with 72-51 loss at Columbia (Mo.) College on Friday.
Columbia outscored the Bluejays by 23 points in the first half. Tabor fell behind 6-0 run in the first two minutes, but rallied to cut the lead to two points midway through the half.
Casey Hillman came off the bench and scored two quick baskets to make it 14-10 at the 11:53 mark. After Columbia turned the ball over, Kyle Kroeker drilled a jumper off a pass from Tyler Weinbrenner that made the score 14-12 with 11:06 to go.
Over the next five minutes the Cougars posted a 16-2 run.
Toby Berg entered the game for Steven Chisholm at 5:54 and hit a shot at 4:49 to make the score 30-16.
Weinbrenner followed with a 2 of his own to cut the lead to 12, but the hosts outscored Tabor 14-3 to end the half 44-21.
After the break, the teams combined for two quick turnovers and three quick fouls, and choppy play characterized the first three minutes.
Columbia’s Mikel Fields and Tabor’s Mike Stoeker each picked up a third personal foul before the clock struck 19:00. Fields picked up his fourth at 18:24 and Stoeker was whistled for his fourth at 17:49.
Weinbrenner and Greg Munroe were called at 17:25 and 17:20, respectively, and two Cougars received foul calls at 16:51 and 16:50.
As the game settled down, and after Stoeker re-entered the game, Tabor put together a 5:24 stretch of play that narrowed the margin from 54-35 to 57-45.
Dustin Burnett sank a 3-point shot at 6:00 to cut the lead to 12, but Marcus Bradford scored the next five points to spark a game-ending 15-6 run for the Cougars.
Five players for Columbia tallied at least 11 points, but Stoeker was the only Bluejay in double-digits, finishing with 10.
The Cougars shot 26-for-60 from the floor; Tabor went 5-for-24 from 3-point range as part of a 21-of-53 shooting night.
The non-conference loss puts Tabor at 4-8 for the season.
Coming-Tabor will play host to non-conference opponents Missouri Baptist and Benedictine at the annual Tabor Holiday Classic Dec. 29 and 30.
The Bluejays meet Missouri Baptist at 8 p.m. Friday, with a rematch against Benedictine slated for 3 p.m. Saturday. Tabor lost to Benedictine, 70-56, Nov. 20.