Tabor splits games in Holiday Classic finale

The Tabor College men surged to a double-digit lead to start the second half, then held off a late rally by Haskell University to post a 78-67 win in Saturday?s Holiday Classic finale in Hillsboro.

In the women?s game, the Bluejay suffered through a poor shooting night en route to a 49-28 loss to Lindenwood University.

The Tabor men battled the Haskell Indians to a 35-35 tie by halftime. But Kyle Kroeker scored nine unanswered points to start the second half as the Bluejays built a 17-3 surge through the first five minutes.

Tabor maintained a lead in that neighborhood for most of the half, and were lead 64-48 when Haskell?s Marcellous Hill hit a 3-pointer at the 5:01 mark. That basket ignited an Indian rally that brought them as close as 71-67 when Tyler Cooper drained a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left.

But Tabor?s Damon Dechant, who had missed a one-and-one opportunity with 1:00 to go, drained a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left. Tabor then finished with a 7-0 run to nail down the win.

The difference in this game was Tabor?s defense, which scored 43 points off 35 Haskell turnovers, while the Indians managed only four points off Tabor?s 18 turnovers.

Kroeker finished with 23 points to pace Tabor (5-11), with Dechant adding 15 and Daniel Hann contributing 13 points off the bench with 6-for-6 shooting from the field.

For the Tabor women, shooting was about as frigid as the temperature outside the gymnasium. The Jays made only 11 percent (3-27) in the first half, and didn?t make a field goal until Gina Hullet scored with 14:51 left in the half.

In spite of the lack of offense, Tabor was still within striking distance at halftime, with Lindenwood leading 23-12 on 32 percent (9-28) shooting.

The Bluejays seemed to be more in sync as the second half started, and cut the lead to 27-17 when Vivian Olivera drained a 3-pointer from the wing at the 15:20 mark. But over the next 12 minutes Tabor committed 11 turnovers, and shot 1-for-11 from the field as Lindenwood widen the gap to 46-19 before Hullett scored on a put-back with 3:27 left in the contest.

Hullett managed only two baskets before fouling out. Tynan Honn led Tabor with seven points. The Bluejays (3-10) finished with 26 turnovers to 14 for the visitors, who held a 20-3 lead in points off turnovers as a result.

Tabor opened their Holiday Classic on New Year?s Day with a pair of losses. The women dropped a 62-55 game to Baker University while the men lost to Lindenwood, 68-43.

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