Jays win one of two at Tabor Classic weekend

The Tabor College men?s basketball team finished their annual Tabor Classic tournament on a high note Saturday, beating Panhandle State from Goodwell, Okla., 71-60.

The previous evening, the Bluejays fell to Northwestern Oklahoma State University from Alva, 83-70.

The Bluejays took control of the Panhandle State game mid-way through the first half with a 20-5 run that ended on back-to-back 3-pointers from Tyler Brown.

Although Tabor?s shooting struggles continued in the first half, they did convert 5 for 11 from behind the arc and took a seven-point lead into the locker room.

The Bluejays continued their good play in the second half as they increased their lead to 15 points. Panhandle responded with a run of their own, cutting the lead to four with six minutes left.

But the Bluejays were able to hold off the visitors and finished with a double-digit victory.

Tabor had a balance scoring attack with four players in double figures. Kevin Koehn led the way with 14.

Head coach Don Brubacher felt Tabor?s pressure man-to-man defense dictated play in the second half.

?We were able to supply some pressure in our man-to-man defense and we sustained that for a considerable period of time, and that is when the game went our way,? he said.

?We lost our intensity and our ability to pressure and we let them back in the game,? he added. ?We really lost a lot in a relatively short period of time.?

Friday night?s contest against talented Northwestern was the Bluejay?s first game since the holiday break.

Tabor struggled shooting the ball all night and finished with 36 percent accuracy from the field.

On the other hand, the Rangers shot 61 percent in the first half, including 7 for 13 from behind the arc.

?We shot the ball well when we moved the ball well on offense and shot badly when we became lethargic on offense,? said Brubacher. ?I felt it was that simple.?

After being down as many as 17 early in the second half, Tabor pulled to within six with just under seven minutes to play. But the Bluejays lost steam the rest of the way, and were limited to one field goal. The Rangers sealed the victory by hitting their free throws down the stretch.

Tabor was without the services of Eric Driggers, who is out with an ankle sprain.

?Eric is a very important player for us,? Brubacher said. ?There is a real significant difference when we do not have him.?

Driggers remains questionable for this week?s road games Ottawa on Thursday and Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday.

Another starter, Chad Premer, saw limited action because he was recovering from illness.

?Our emphasis continues to be fundamental basketball,? Brubacher said. ?It comes down to that we need to play very, very good fundamental basketball.?

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