Tabor men even up at Classic with 79-72 win

The Tabor College men?s basketball team used 22 points by Aaron Whitelaw to knock off the Missouri Baptist Spartans 79-72 Saturday. The Bluejays went 1-1 during the 2-game Golden Heritage Foods Holiday Classic, having lost to the Savannah College of Art and Design Bees 76-70 Friday.

Tabor led by as much as 18-9 and trailed by as many as 4 points during a first half that saw each team string together long scoring runs.
Tabor fell behind 3-0, but bounced back with a 10-2 run, and pushed the lead to 9 on a 3-point play by Mike Stoecker at 14:18.
But after Zach Vanselow went to the bench at 11:58 with his third personal, the Spartans whittled the Tabor lead away with a 12-6 spurt.
Having tied the game at the 7:09 mark, Missouri Baptist pushed its advantage to 34-30 with an 8-4 run.
Tabor unleashed a 5-0 run to retake the lead with 3:00 left in the half, prompting a Spartan time out.
Brandon Bishop immidately put the visitors back on top with a 3-pointer, but Tabor scored on field goals by Orson Thomas and Mike Stoecker in the final 40 seconds of the period. The halftime score was even at 39-39.
The second half tilted toward Missouri Baptist at the outset, as Bret Wilson drained 3-pointers on each of the Spartans first two possessions.
Whitelaw struck back, draining a 3-point shot 15 seconds after Wilson?s second, slashing the Bluejays deficit to 45-44.
Five ties and seven lead changes ensued, and Whitelaw put his team on top for good with a foul shot with 7:39 to go.
Kyle DeBlonk pushed the Bluejay lead to 63-59 with a 3-pointer 11 seconds later. Having forced a turnover, Tabor ran a set play with a stack of players screening curling and eventually springing deBlonk at the top of the key for the open shot.
DeBlonk drilled another key shot to set the stage for the endgame. With 3:21 to go, he caught up with a long rebound following his own miss and nailed a 3-pointer for a 69-63 lead.
Whitelaw took it from there, notching six free throws in the final 2:28 to close out the game.

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