Tabor earns road win at Sterling

D?Marco Smith makes a basket during the first half at Sterling Tuesday. Smith scored 16 points in Tabor?s 72-65 win. The Tabor College men?s basketball team put the finishing touches on its pre-Christmas schedule with a rare road win at Sterling Tuesday.

Tabor defeated the Warriors, 72-65, breaking a six-year losing streak at Sterling. The last time the Bluejays recorded a road win at Sterling was Dec. 3, 2009.

The Bluejays found themselves in early foul trouble as Lance Carter picked up his first two fouls less than four minutes into the game and sat on the bench the rest of the half.

Tabor scored its first points at the free-throw line more than three minutes in. Sterling took its largest lead, 9-5, with 13:04 left in the half.

After that, Kyle Baker made three three-pointers in a two-minute span to help push Tabor in front, 15-13.

Following a 19-19 tie, Jordan Horstick and D?Marco Smith combined to score Tabor?s next nine points for a 28-20 advantage. Sterling cut the lead to four before the Bluejays extended it to 32-24 at halftime.

Tabor led by as many as 12, the final time being 46-34 after Davaghndre Jones scored with 12:19 to play.

Sterling used an 11-4 run to draw within 50-45 three minutes later. The Warriors further trimmed Tabor?s lead to 59-56. Jonathan Gibson made two baskets, and by the time Carter scored, Tabor?s lead was 65-56 with 2:46 to go. The closest Sterling got after that was within six.

?I felt like we found ways to guard,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?We made it tough on them. I thought defensively, we had a really good game-plan, besides the fact that we struggled rebounding. They were super aggressive on the glass.?

Tabor shot 49 percent from the field (24-49), compared with around 30 percent for Sterling (21-71). Smith led Tabor?s scoring effort with 16 points. Baker added 14 and Carter 10.

?We hit big shots, and then we started getting to the rim a little bit,??Ratzlaff said. ?We just found ways to make plays, and that?s what good teams do.?

Coming?The 15th-ranked Bluejays remain unbeaten in KCAC play to top the conference. Tabor will resume play Jan. 1 by hosting Missouri Valley at 8 p.m. in the Holiday Classic.

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