The 1:00 tipoff was the first game of the quarterfinals. Jordan Vogel easily wins it giving Dordt the initial possession.
Trevor Wolterstorff weaves his way through a sea of red and white to draw a foul on his shot.
After falling behind 18-8, Cliff Warner steps up to hit what will be his first of four consecutive three-pointers in a four-minute span.
Shortly after hitting his fourth trey, Cliff Warner picks up his second foul giving TJ an opportunity to man the point.
Shawn Keizer also subs in, providing an offensive spark that starts with a 3-pointer . . .
. . . and continues on the next possession with penetration and a clever bounce pass to Jordan Vogel on the baseline who throws it down with authority despite the foul.
The Vogel dunk and ensuing free throw gives Dordt its first lead of the game and generates a new level of confidence.
The players show an amplified measure of intensity following the old-fashioned three-point play.
Thanks to strong defense and clutch offensive plays, the Defenders close the half on a 13-4 run bringing positive energy to the locker room.
The players return from the dark hallways, set to go in the second half.
All eyes are on the high arching shot of Austin Katje. The shot falls, giving Dordt a six-point lead two minutes into the half.
A charging foul taken by Cliff Warner on McPherson's ensuing possession forces McPherson to call timeout.
Coach Hiemstra makes sure players are aware of their responsibilities on each end of the court.
Kyle Lindbergh drives the baseline and and looks to dish to the opposite block.
Trevor Wolterstorff torques his way through the lane, finishing with an up-around-and-under layup.
Chris Sievers earns another trip to the line by willing himself to the basket against a collapsing defense.
The sagging defense opens up the perimeter again.
Cliff Warner capitalizes by hitting his sixth three, giving Dordt a 72-67 lead with 4:31 remaining.
The coaches and players remind each other to not let up.
Dale cannot wait for the clock to tick down fast enough as things just start to unravel.
A third three-pointer in as many tries for McPherson has Dordt down by two with the ball and 14 seconds left.
Murphy's Law reaches a new level of frustration as Dordt's inbound pass is stolen and the Defenders are forced to foul with two seconds remaining. Any chance of a Defender salvage is put to rest as Chris Crawford, a 60% free throw shooter, makes them both to give the Bulldogs a four point victory.
Defender coaches and players leave the court shell-shocked. It is an unbelievable end to a game where Dordt played its best ball at nationals, the last two minutes withstanding.
TJ Malone wraps up his Dordt career on the most sour of notes. But Coach Douma has nothing but good things to say in the postgame interview. "TJ didn't know anything about Sioux Center or Dordt College and he trusted us and believed us when we told him we were going to be building a solid team. He is a great kid, he played some really good basketball down here and he sparked us with some hustle plays. I think he is a better young man for having been at Dordt and Dordt is a better place for having had him here." Well said, Coach. Well said.