Once more a close home game slipped away from the Tabor men Saturday night as they lost to Benedictine College in the final seconds, 57-55.
The loss comes after absorbing an 80-60 defeat at the hands of William Jewell College Tuesday in an exhibition game.
“We’ve got to pick it up, offensively,” coach Micah Ratzlaff said. “We’ve got to start hitting some shots if we want to contend once we get into conference.
“I think we have a shot. I think these guys are good enough, there’s no doubt. But we have to start scoring some points, while we’re playing defense.”
Tabor now is 1-8 for the season.
Benedictine—Tabor’s comeback fell just short of a win in the final second of Saturday’s 57-55 home loss to Benedictine College.
Reckless ball handling in the first half resulted in Tabor turnovers and Benedictine points as the Ravens lit up from beyond the arc.
“We haven’t struggled turning the ball over, and the first half we were throwing it all over the place,” coach Micah Ratzlaff said.
After a brief back-and-forth battle, Benedictine hit three consecutive shots from three-point range to spark a 15-point run that put the Ravens firmly in control of the half and gave them their largest lead of the game, 23-8. They outshot Tabor by 15 percent from the field and led at the break, 23-17.
Benedictine set the tone early in the second half with a three-point basket right off the bat and a score on the steal.
Tabor finally got a break when Brent Jackson came off the bench and drained back-to-back three-pointers to make it 29-27 with just under 13 minutes left to play.
The Ravens rallied to protect their lead, but in the final seconds of play Tabor’s standout senior, Ryan Chippeaux, completed a traditional three-point, then drained a three-pointer to make it 53-50 with 13 seconds remaining.
Benedictine was perfect on free throws in the final seconds, going four-for-four. But Tabor’s Nick Sauer scored from beyond the arc and JT Nemit drove inside to make it 57-55 with 0.3 seconds left.
Tabor had possession, but couldn’t get the ball in play and the game slipped away.
“We need to put two halves together,” Ratzlaff said. “I thought defensively we were really, really good the whole game. I don’t know if you can guard them much better than we did tonight.
“But it felt like we played only 10 to 15 minutes on offense.”
Freshman Reggie Butler came off the bench to lead the Bluejays in scoring with 16 points. He also pulled down two rebounds.
“That’s pretty big for a freshman to come in and be that guy,” Ratzlaff said. “He’s been a huge boost for us off the bench. He’s instant offense now. He can get going and has been consistent.”
Chippeaux registered a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Michael Janzen added eight points and Nemit seven points.
“I was proud of the bench, but our starters didn’t show up,” Ratzlaff said. “Sometimes you’re going to have nights like that, but we need everybody to show up.”
Tabor outrebounded Benedictine, 31-27, but gave the game away with turnovers. The Ravens had 19 giveaways to the Bluejays’ 21, and scored 16 points off turnovers, compared to Tabor’s seven.
“We outrebounded them, and it felt like that,” Ratzlaff said. “It felt like it was one-and-done.
“If you can play with a team and they only get one chance at the basket, you’re going to be in the game whether you score or not. And we were in the game, and we couldn’t score.”
William Jewell—The Cardinals flew to an early lead and never looked back in their 80-60 victory over Tabor College in Tuesday’s exhibition game.
William Jewell led, 46-22, at the half and hung on for the win despite Tabor outscoring them, 38-34, in the second period.
Reggie Butler and Brent Jackson shared top scoring honors for the Bluejays, recording 11 points each to lead the Tabor attack.
Coming—The Bluejays are slated to host Sterling College Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. to begin conference play,. They will travel to McPherson College Saturday. Tip-off for that game is at 7 p.m.