by Jay Stancil-SID at Union
Point Lookout, Mo. – (Box Score)Seventh-seeded Tabor (Kan.) punched its ticket for the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship for the third time in program history with an 88-82 win over No. 2 Robert Morris (Ill.) on Friday.
The Bluejays (25-9 overall) are making their first trip to the quarterfinal since 1997 en route to their only semifinal appearance. Tabor’s other trip to the quarterfinal came in 1996.
Owning the lead for the majority of the game, Tabor appeared to be well on its way to the next round after Lance Carter put it up 59-46 with 12:07 to play. However, Robert Morris (23-10 overall) stormed back and grabbed the lead with less than seven minutes to play. With the shot clock about to expire, Darius Paul threw up a 3-pointer, which was answered to give the Eagles a 66-65 lead at the 6:55 mark. Paul’s trey capped a 20-6 Robert Morris run.
Tullio Parry scored four points in a 6-0 run to boost the Bluejays to a 71-66 advantage with 5:23 to play. Eventually, Tabor pushed the margin to 80-71 with 2:08 remaining.
Robert Morris continued to fight, cutting the deficit to 82-78 with 1:02 left following a Paul layup. Yet, the Eagles could not close the gap any further as the Bluejays logged the 88-82 victory.
Carter recorded his second double-double of the tournament as he finished with a team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Parry also registered a double-double as he posted 13 points and 10 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for Tabor were DeShun Patterson (21 points), Davaghndre Jones (10 points), and Julian Winton (10 points).
For Robert Morris, Paul led the way with 24 points with Antonio Levy and Greg Carter adding 14 and 11 points, respectively. This was the final game for long-time Eagles’ head coach, Al Bruehl, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Solid free-throw shooting helped Tabor in securing the victory. For the game, the Bluejays went 28-of-37 (75.7 percent) from the line, hitting 18-of-25 (72 percent) in the second half alone. Conversely, Robert Morris made 60.9 percent (14-of-23) of its free throws.
Tabor advances to face defending champion Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. Indiana Wesleyan held off Northwestern (Iowa) 77-75 to keep its title hopes alive.
For more information on the national championship, click here. To watch the live video stream, go to NAIANetwork.com.