Tabor traveled to Ottawa and wrapped up a road swing that covered more than 500 miles this week.
After collecting wins at St. Mary in Leavenworth on Thursday, both the men and the women came out flat in the first half of Saturday’s games.
The men shot 1-10 from three-point range, and trailed 44-31 after 20 minutes. In the first half, especially, the Bluejays had difficulty finding open shooters. For the game, Ottawa collected 21 assists against 15 turnovers, while TC finished with 16 setups and 16 giveaways.
Despite the difficulties caused by OU’s aggressive defense, TC shot 42% from the floor for the game.
Post play turned momentum in the Bluejays favor halfway through the second period.
A Greg Munroe dunk may have been the most visually stunning play of the game as the high-flying Tabor forward slashed toward the basket along the baseline and threw down two points with both hands.
But with 9:30 to play, two big buckets brought TC back on the scoreboard.
First, Kyle Kroeker executed a nifty give-and-go with Munroe in the paint and an easy layup cut the Braves lead to six points, 63-57.
Less than a minute later, Munroe was on the receiving end of another nice feed, this time from Mike Willis.
Munroe beat his man along the baseline again, and rose as if to dunk a second time. But instead of slamming home an instant replay, Munroe applied a little finesse and seemed to hang in the air before laying the ball up off the glass.
The hint of a pause in the move threw off a defender’s timing and resulted in a foul call that sent Munroe to the line with a free throw chance that cut the lead to five, 65-60, with 8:21 to play.
But the Bluejays faded down the stretch.
The Braves’ game-long aggressiveness paid off most noticably on the boards, where Ottawa outrebounded the Bluejays 48-32 and scored a pile of easy points on putbacks.
At the four minute mark, the OU lead was back to 13 and the Tabor men went on to lose by 18, 93-75.
The TC women faced similar difficulties throughout the first half of their game and trailed 37-29 at halftime.
The Jays fell behind early and never led in the first half, but short jump shots by Nicole Ellis twice brought TC within two.
TC’s guards noticably struggled with Ottawa’s press defense, and Amanda Stichler scored 17 points in 16 minutes of game time in the half.
But the rest of the Braves managed only 8-23 from the field, and TC got eight from Donya Anderson to keep the game within reach.
In the second half, TC repeatedly cut into the Braves lead but could not move closer than four.
A late game eruption by Chelsea Malone tied the game with 27 ticks left on the clock. Malone scored seven points–a three and a four-of-four run from the free throw line–in the final 1:01 of the second half.
But OU had the ball with the shot clocks turned off; the Braves called a timeout to run a set play with a chance for a tie-breaking, potentially game-winning score.
But with 13 seconds left Tina Wilson committed an offensive foul and gave TC a chance to win the game on the final shot.
Andrea Robinson weaved her way the length of the floor and scored a runner softly off the glass for a 73-71 lead with 5.6 seconds remaining.
But in those 5.6 seconds Ottawa called another timeout and drew up a play to give sophomore Stef Randa an open look from three-point range.
Point guard Brittany Broyles sprinted toward the top of the key and fired a pass into the deep corner where Randa made the catch and put up a long, arcing shot that bounced harmlessly off of the side of the backboard while TC celebrated the improbable continuation of its win streak, now ten games in length.