The Tabor College men’s basketball team made an early exit from the KCAC tournament with a semifinal loss to Southwestern Saturday, 93-88.
The visiting Moundbuilders shot lights out all afternoon, foreshadowing what was to come by making 10 of their first 11 attempts from the field (91 percent) to stake a 24-17 lead.
DeShun Patterson made a three-pointer after that to ignite a 9-2 Bluejay run that tied the game at 26, but although the game was tied twice more after that, Tabor never re-established a lead before halftime. The ‘Builders drained a buzzer-beating three-pointer to enjoy a 45-41 lead at intermission, having made 69 percent of their attempts from the field (18-for-26).
Tabor outscored the visitors 14-5 in the first four minutes of the second half. Alan Urrutia capped the run with a three-pointer that put Tabor in front by five, 55-50.
When Lance Carter, Tullio Parry and Cody May each scored from beyond the arc in a 1:35 span, Tabor enjoyed its largest lead of the game, 68-61, with 12:20 to play. Tabor still led by seven, 75-68, when Carter made a three at the 9:24 mark. But Tabor missed its next four attempts and turned the ball over once, and Southwestern used a 7-0 run to tie the game.
Patterson completed a traditional three-point play to put Tabor in front by three, 78-75, and the game was tied four times after that. Carter broke an 84-84 tie with a dunk assisted by Julian Winton, then Southwestern scored, making it 86 all with 2:08 to play.
After a ‘Builder three-pointer, Winton made two free-throws, bringing Tabor within 89-88 with 1:03 to go, but those were Tabor’s final points of the contest, as the Bluejays missed their final six attempts. Trailing by three, 91-88, Tabor was called for a traveling violation, but a Southwestern turnover put the ball back in the Bluejays’ hands. However, after a Bluejay miss, Tabor was called for a foul, sending the ‘Builders to the charity stripe, where two free-throws brought it to the final, five-point spread with 9 seconds to go. The Bluejays missed two three-point attempts in the final six seconds.
For the game, Southwestern shot 65 percent from the field (35-for-54). Tabor made 45 percent of its field-goal attempts (31-for-69).
Carter had a double-double performance with 27 points and 10 assists. Winton scored 20 points.
Southwestern will advance to the KCAC tournament championship Monday versus York. The Panthers defeated Ottawa in the semifinals, 99-78. Tabor will now turn its attention to the NAIA Division II national championship March 8-14 in Point Lookout, Mo.
For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13