It’s now down to one local team in the NAIA D-2 Men’s Basketball Tournament after the Davenport Panthers were upset in their first round matchup 78-70 to Tabor (Kan.) College Blue Jays on Thursday.
The Blue Jays got out to an early 10-0 lead in the first three minutes before the #3-seed Panthers fought back to tie the game at 16-16. But it was more of the same as the Blue Jays kept the tempo as a fast pace and finished the first half up by seven points, 36-29. The Panthers deficit on the scoreboard wasn’t the only category they were behind in. The Blue Jays won the first half battle of the boards by a 23-16 margin.
In the second half, the Blue Jays defense scurried and scrambled the Davenport offense and held their lead throughout the rest of the game. They owned the paint, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds after the break. But, Davenport wouldn’t give up, going on a 9-0 run midway through the half to get back within four points of the lead. The Panthers would cut the lead to four again late in the game, but Tabor finished the contest on a 7-3 run to secure the victory.
“The harder we played on defense, the better we played on offense.” -Tabor coach, Micah Ratzlaff
Tabor’s Lance Carter led all scorers with 19 points and Davenport’s Kevin Rich (Sr./GR Northview HS) and Nick Gamble each scored 18 points to lead the Panthers. Rich moved into third place all-time in Davenport scoring history.
The Panthers finish the season with a record of 24-9, their ninth straight 20-win season and eighth consecutive NAIA Tournament bid.
The #6-seed Blue Jays will now face the #2-seed Robert Morris (IL) (26-6) on Friday, March 10 at 1:45 p.m. in Point Lookout, MO.
On Wednesday, local teams Aquinas lost and Cornerstone won in their first round games. #2-seed Cornerstone faces #15-seed St. Francis (Ind.) at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.