LINCOLN, Nebraska—Tanner Van Beek scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, lifting the Faith Eagles' offense to a nail-biting 65-59 win over Union College on the season's opening night.
After scoring just two points in the first half on 0-3 shooting, Van Beek put a young and inexperienced Eagles team on his back in the second half, scoring 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting and 4 of 5 from the free throw line. Van Beek's 13 rebounds were also a team-high.
The Eagles shot poorly as a team in the first half, making just 32% of their baskets, including 0-7 from three-point distance. Offense was difficult to come by for both teams as each went scoreless for the first two minutes and fifty-four seconds. Micah Stinson's two made free throws with 17:06 left in the first half gave the Eagles the first score of the game and Stinson's first career points as a Faith Eagle.
The game remained tight throughout the first twenty minutes. Faith's largest lead of the half came with 9:07 remaining after a pair of Jason Conable free throws gave the Eagles a seven-point lead at 18-11. Union College answered with an 11-2 run to take their first and only lead of the game with 3:44 remaining in the first half. A Kalab Sidlinger jumper gave the lead back to the Eagles with nine seconds remaining before halftime, sending Faith to the locker rooms with a 28-26 lead. Freshman Micah Stinson led the way with 9 first-half points for the Eagles.
The second half was dominated by Tanner Van Beek. A made jumper with 19:16 remaining got things started. He scored 11 of the first 17 points in the second half for Faith, stretching the Eagles' lead to 45-38.
A four-minute scoring drought for Faith brought Union College back to within three points before a Jason Conable basket ended the scoreless stretch for the Eagles. Following Conable's basket, Faith built their largest lead of the game at 51-42 with 6:44 remaining.
Another two-minute scoring drought for Faith allowed Union College to battle back within two with 4:29 to go, but it was Van Beek who carried the Eagles to the finish line, scoring nine of the last fourteen points for Faith as they pulled away for a six-point victory.
Faith shot 41.8% for the game (0-15 from three-point distance) and made 19 of 37 free throws (51.4%). The Eagles committed 32 turnovers, but dominated the glass, outrebounding Union College 56-31.
The Eagles (1-0) face a tough Providence (1-1) team at the Nettleton Center on Thursday night for Faith's home-opener at 8:00 p.m. following the women's game.