Bulldogs rally to top Tabor twice in twinbill

After jumping out to 29-23 halftime lead, the Tabor College women's basketball team endured a 12-for-25 shooting performance by the visiting McPherson Bulldogs and were unable to slow the rally in the final minutes. Bouncing back to overcome a slow start, Tabor tied the game at 6-6 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. The Bluejays opened up a 28-18 lead behind the hot-handed shooting of Joanna Pyle, who strung together 15 points before the intermission, and carried that lead until McPherson tied it at 47-all with 3:37 left in the game. Bulldog tower of power Whitney Pegram capped a 7-1 spurt at the end of an 11-4 run knotted the game with back to back field goals.

Neither team scored again until Jamie Brewer nailed a 3-pointer with 1:59 left, putting McPherson firmly in control for the endgame. The Bulldogs threw in a point-blank layup and two foul shots to seal the game. Kirsten Watson kept Tabor alive until the last second with a 3-pointer 7 seconds before the final buzzer.

Watson finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Pyle finished with 17. Pegram led McPherson with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.

The men's game followed a similar formula. With Cody Dickerson and Jorge Espino lighting it up from 3-point range, McPherson turned an 8-4 deficit into an 8-8 tie in the blink of an eye. They wiped out a 13-10 deficit and took a 16-13 lead on back-to-back bombs by Dickerson at 11:11, then turned a 23-21 disadvantage into a 27-23 lead on back-to-backs by Espino at 5:55.

But even with Zach Vanselow in street clothes, Tabor's presence in the paint was overpowering for large stretches, including the end of the half when the Bluejays reclaimed the lead with a 10-3 run.

Tabor continued to shred McPherson inside for the first 8:16 of the second half. Powered by Brent Nelson, who threw in a 3-point play at 17:27 and knocked down a post-up jumper at 12:45, the Bluejays outscored the Bulldogs 16-5 to take a 51-37 lead. Orson Thomas scored six of his 19 points during the run.

After that, Tabor went ice cold, scoring only three field goals the rest of the way. Kyle DeBlonk temporarily stunted the evaporation of the Bluejay lead with a 3-pointer set up by Aaron Whitelaw at 6:35, but at 3:56, McPherson pulled to within 59-58.

Shawn Young beat a Bluejay double-team and the shot clock with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc over Nelson's outstretched arm, giving the visitors a 61-59 advantage with 2:34 to go. Young fouled Thomas at the other end, and Thomas hit both free throws. Then Tyler Stewart hit a 3-ball for a 65-61 McPherson lead with 53 seconds left.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 71-63 with six straight foul shots and closed out the game on a 17-4 run.

Whitelaw scored 12 points, and Thomas' 19 were Tabor's game-high. Dickerson led McPherson with 20, and Stewart scored 14?and both went 4-for-8 from 3-point range.

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