The Tabor College basketball teams swept the University of Saint Mary Thursday night. The women won, 70-62, while the men gained a 99-82 victory over the No. 23 Spires.
Women?The Bluejays overcame a three-point halftime deficit to defeat the Spires, 70-62, Thursday.
It was a back-and-forth battle at the start, but Tabor gained distance when Mallory Zuercher scored consecutive baskets for a 9-4 margin. Tabor led by as many as 17-11, but the Spires used three three-pointers to claim a 25-19 lead. The Spires increased it to 29-21 with 4:50 left in the half. Kaleigh Troxell scored seven of Tabor?s next eight points to bring the Bluejays within 32-29, and the half ended with Saint Mary in front, 34-31.
Sam Short burst with a string of eight points after halftime to put Tabor in front, 38-34, and the Bluejays never trailed again. With Tabor leading 47-46, Tonisha Dean ignited a 9-0 run with a three-pointer, and the Bluejays led 61-47 when Kayla Wilgers made a three followed by a jumper with 5:57 to play.
The Spires chipped away at the lead and closed to within 64-60 after a three-point play with 34 seconds left. Troxell and Short combined for six points from the charity stripe in the final 22 seconds to keep Tabor in the lead at the end.
Troxell scored a game-high 19 points. Short and Zuercher each added 13.
Men?It took time for Tabor to find its rhythm Thursday, and the Bluejay bench provided the needed spark to light the fire.
The Spires burst to a 7-0 lead and extended it to 17-6 with a breakaway layup off a turnover at 13:24. Justin Malan ignited an 8-0 burst with a three-point play, and Tabor took its first lead, 20-19, when John Jedneak scored. The teams traded baskets, then Jonathan Gibson sparked an 11-0 run with two free throws and a basket, and when Chance LeBlanc scored off a steal, Tabor was in front, 40-25. The Bluejays led, 40-29, at halftime.
Thomas and Gibson combined for Tabor?s next 14 points for a 54-34 score with 16:18 to play. Tabor committed its 10th team foul at the 10:55 mark, and both teams battled from the charity stripe down the stretch. Tabor made 25 of 32 attempts in the second half (78.1 percent), while the Spires made 22 of 25 (88 percent).
The closest the Spires drew after that was 86-74 with 2:01 left in the game, and Tabor made 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1:34 to seal the win.
Thomas led with 21 points. Biggs added 18, Brooks 13, Jedneak 12 and Gibson 10.
Coming?Tabor will play at McPherson Saturday. The women will play at 5 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.
For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13