The Ottawa men's basketball team's 2-headed monster of David Birch and Phil McClintock powered the Braves' conference-leading offense to a 93-74 win over Tabor Saturday in Hillsboro. Birch (27 points) and McClintock (26 points) flashed the form that has them ranked second and third in individual scoring, but it was their swagger at a pivotal moment that proved decisive.
The Bluejays trailed 45-35 at halftime and, despite Tabor's 23-15 run capped by Orson Thomas' vigorous dunk, Birch personally saw to it that Tabor would not take a lead midway through the second half. After Thomas stutter-stepped and spun past his defender and launched himself to the rim for 2-handed slam, Birch scored back-to-back layups, then drew a foul and splashed both free throws for a 66-60 Ottawa lead.
On the next Braves possession, Ottawa put the ball in Birch's hands with the shot clock winding down. He dribbled to his left, pulled up at the 3-point arc, and beat the buzzer with a sparkling jumper over two Bluejays defenders to extend the lead to nine. Later, Birch pushed the lead to 79-64 with a traditional 3-point play that certified the outcome with six minutes left.
McClintock did much of his damage after Tabor rallied within 81-70, fouling out Damon Dechant with 1:55 to go and using a combination of post moves and foul shots to close out the game.
Ottawa's offensive proficiency all but drowned out strong performances by Kyle Kroeker and Rousell. Kroeker shot 3-for-7 from the arc and 7-for-7 from the foul line, finishing with 18 points. Rousell totaled 10 points, including a spectaculary tip-in on the heels of Thomas's dunk. Thomas finished with 11 points, and Zack Vanselow scored 18 points on 18 attempts despite an 0-for-4 night from 3-point range and an 0-for-3 showing at the foul line.
In the coming week, Tabor hosts Bethany Thursday and McPherson Saturday.
The Tabor College women's basketball team carried a 31-27 lead into halftime, but could not hang on against the Braves' bench depth in the second half. Ottawa's bench outscored Tabor's 53-5, in no small part because of the 21 second-half points Marie Goyette scored. Goyette went 7-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and hit three of four free throw—all in 14:04 of action after intermission.
And Goyette was not the only Brave who could not miss. Ottawa made an astounding 89% of its second half 3-point shots, as Maggie Hasenkamp went 3-for-3 from the arc in the period.
The Braves extraterrestrial shooting spoiled a night that saw four Bluejays hit double-digits. Kirsten Watson and Andrea Robinson each scored 19 points, Brittany Roth had 11, and Chelsea Malone scored 10.
Watson's 3-for-3 foul shooting show (after she was whacked while trying a shot from beyond the arc) gave the Bluejays the last lead. Ottawa took the lead for good when Misty Stone buried a 2-pointer at 12:32 of the second half.
Goyette made it a 6-point game with a triple at 8:16, but Robinson's layup and Watson's 3-pointer chopped it to 59-58. Goyette scored a second-chance layup, and Malone answered with a layup with 4:57 left. But after a run of sloppy play saw Tabor claim a jump ball win, the Bluejays missed what would have been the go-ahead layup, and Goyette followed with a 3-pointer.
Watson's 3-pointer with 2:20 to go cut it to 66-64, but Stone knocked in a point-blank jumper and Ottawa hit its free throws to close out the contest.