The Tabor College men's basketball team overcame a sluggish start to defeat the Southwestern Moundbuilders 75-66 Saturday night in Hillsboro. The win boosts the Bluejays to 1-1 in conference play.
Tabor scored only twice during the first 6:35, and trailed 22-4 when Alwyn Jordan buried back-to-back 2-pointers to cap a 22-4 run. But the Bluejays rally began on the defensive end, behind imposing post play from Zack Vanselow, who swatted five shots during the first half of play. Vanselow and Orson Thomas scored back-to-back baskets 23 seconds apart, and the Bluejays perimeter shooters caught fire. Aaron Whitelaw, Vanselow and Kyle Kroeker combined to score 13 straight points. Kroeker finished the burst with a traditional 3-point play assisted by Mike Rousell at 6:16, and Southwestern scored just eight points the rest of the way to intermission.
Tabor closed the gap to 33-29 with a triple by Jared Hett and pulled within a possession on a shot by Whitelaw 18 seconds later.? Whitelaw was fouled trying to beat the buzzer on a fast break, and tied the game with a free throw going into intermission.
Southwestern's effort to stave off the Bluejays charge was complicated when, midway through the first half, Jordan went down with what was described after the game as a career-ending achilles tendon rupture. Jordan led the Builders in first-half scoring with 13 points despite playing only 9:21.
Tabor did not let up in the second half, taking the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Vanselow with 12:42 left. Jordan Funk and Kyle de Blonk followed with 2-pointers, and Tabor opened up a 7-point lead on a basket by Hett at 10:51. The Bluejays pushed it to 10, 67-57, on back-to-back scores by Whitelaw and de Blonk, and made it an 11-point game on a buzzer-beating dribble drive by Whitelaw.
Whitelaw finished with 18 points and 6 assists. Vanselow totaled 20 points and 7 blocks, and the Bluejays as a team swatted 13 field goal tries. Tim Miser led Southwestern with 16 points, and David King put up an 11-point, 10 rebound double-double.