Bluejay men out-muscle Bethany Swedes

by Eric Clark

Riding a three-game winning streak and standing aloft in the KCAC, the Tabor College men’s basketball team made quick work of the Bethany Swedes with an 82-60 win Saturday at home.

Starting some new faces in the lineup and coming out slow offensively, the Bluejays picked up their 11th KCAC win of the year against only two loses.

Coach Don Brubacher said his team continues to struggle early in games, but also continues to learn.

“We are just habitually slow starting, and we had an unusual starting lineup,” Brubacher said.

The lineup change was the result of players missing curfew the night before the game, according to a knowledgeable source.

Brubacher didn’t make much of the situation, though.

“We had a situation-we felt we needed to change our lineup tonight,” he said.

Even with the change, the Bluejays led 37-23 at halftime, holding the Swedes to just 31.6 percent shooting from the field.

The Bluejays were caught off guard several times in the first half in full-court situations, but quickly remedied the problem, Brubacher said.

“All the guys sprinted the court harder and they responded well to it,” Brubacher said.

In the second half, the Swedes put together a string of baskets down the stretch to cut into Tabor’s lead. But the Bluejays refused to fold and held off the threat for the win.

The last time the Bluejays faced the Swedes, Charlie Mercado, the league’s leading 3-point shooter, scored 24 points. This time, the Bluejays held Mercado to seven points and only five attempts from behind the arc.

“We didn’t give him many looks,” Brubacher said. “He’s a very dangerous shooter. I hope we are learning more and more about how to limit 3-point shooters’ effect on the game. Tonight we did a lot better guarding him.”

Tabor’s Tyson Ratzlaff and Grant Brubacher each had 16 points to pace the Bluejays. Ratzlaff also finished with three rebounds and three assists. Brubacher finished with six steals and four assists.

Jimmy Janzen and Ernest Nortey added 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Coming-The Jays traveled to Sterling College Monday to face the Warriors.

Thursday night, the Bluejays take to the road to battle the Ottawa Braves, who are two games behind the league leaders.

Kansas Wesleyan comes to town Saturday night. The Jays will have a chance to avenge an earlier loss to the Coyotes in Salina.

After weather conditions postponed last week’s matchup against Friends University, Tabor officials report the game has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 11, at Hillsboro. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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