ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
At the Sterling Classic played over the weekend, the Tabor College men’s basketball team met both the Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers and the Newman Jets for the second time in this young season.
Behind 19 points from Shane Hansen, the Rangers defeated the Bluejays on Saturday for the second time in as many weeks, 88-56.
“We had trouble with every aspect of the game,” coach Don Brubacher said.
As a team, Tabor made 16 of 53 field goal attempts (30 percent) and Northwestern Oklahoma State outrebounded the Bluejays at both ends of the floor.
“We competed well for the first 15 minutes of the first half and the first 15 minutes of the second half,” Brubacher said. “We gave up a really damaging run to end the first half, but we started the second half strong.”
Tabor closed to within six points, but gave up another big run.
“The game really came apart for us in the last 15 minutes,” Brubacher said. “We did make some improvements, but we were not able to compete for 40 minutes.”
The Bluejays gave up 18 offensive rebounds. The Rangers came down with 50 total rebounds, and five Rangers had at least six boards each.
Tabor shot 17-for-24 from the free-throw line. Three players-Andy Brubacher, Greg Munroe and Mike Willis-scored in double-figures.
Against Newman, Tabor built a nine-point lead with five minutes to go in the second half. But the Bluejays faded down the stretch and the game ended in Newman’s favor, 79-71.
“We had two primary issues against Newman,” Brubacher said. “We were in serious foul trouble the entire game, and we shot the ball poorly.”
Newman lept to a 10-point first-half advantage, but the Bluejays narrowed the margin to 42-40 by halftime.
In the second half, the team “played really mediocre basketball for eight or 10 minutes and then had a really good stretch,” Brubacher said.
The Jets put together a backbreaking 11-0 run.
“We never recovered from that, we hardly scored the rest of the game,” Brubacher said. “I think it is more a mental thing than anything else. We still don’t understand our game very well.”
Guards Andy Brubacher and Tyler Weinbrenner each scored 16 points against the Jets. In two games this week, Munroe totaled 26 points and 19 rebounds.
Coming-Tabor (1-3) will travel to Warrensburg, Mo., this weekend for a tournament hosted by Central Missouri State. The Bluejays are slated to meet Eastern New Mexico at 5 p.m. Friday and Bacone College at 5 p.m. Saturday.