Tabor men earn first-round victory over Davenport

Julian WintonThe Tabor College men’s basketball team broke a three-year, first-round losing streak by defeating Davenport Thursday, 78-70, at the NAIA Division II national championship.

The Bluejays limited the Panthers to nearly 14 points below their average, defending well, coach Micah Ratzlaff said, which fueled Tabor’s offense.

Tabor pushed the tempo from the start, bursting to a 10-0 lead on 3-for-3 shooting from the field, including a pair of threes courtesy of Julian Winton and Alan Urrutia, while holding the Panthers scoreless for nearly three minutes. However, a 16-6 Davenport swing after that tied the game at the 12:30 mark.

DeShun Patterson capped a 7-0 run with an alley-oop dunk assisted by Lance Carter to put Tabor in front, 23-16, and the Bluejays continued to build their lead, taking their first double-digit margin, 32-20, after Cody May drained a three with 4:40 left in the half.

The Panthers trimmed that margin to seven by intermission, 36-29.

Tabor made 44 percent of its first-half attempts (14-for-32), including 33 percent from three (5-for-15), while limiting Davenport to 39 percent shooting from the field (13-for-33).

The Panthers made a run after the break, trimming Tabor’s lead to four, 36-32, and later, to three, 41-38.

The Bluejays, however, continued to push the pace, many times beating Davenport down the court, and retook a double-digit, 51-40, lead when Patterson scored at the 14:18 mark. Again, the Panthers closed within four, 59-55, but Carter contributed five points to a 6-0 run that put Tabor in front by 10.

Davenport narrowed the gap to four one final time, 71-67, with 3:33 to play, but again Tabor answered, this time with Tullio Parry adding four points to a 6-0 run to again stretch Tabor’s lead to 10 with 48 seconds to go. In the end, Tabor achieved an eight-point victory.

Carter led all scorers in a double-double performance with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Winton and Parry each scored 17. Tabor made 44 percent of its attempts (29-for-66) while limiting Davenport to 40 percent shooting (27-for-68).

Tabor advances to face Robert Morris Friday at 1:45 p.m. Robert Morris defeated West Virginia Tech in the first round, 86-81.

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