Tabor defeats Kansas Wesleyan in overtime thrillers

Both Tabor College basketball teams earned thrilling overtime victories over Kansas Wesleyan Saturday. The women won in double overtime, 82-73, and the men won in overtime, 72-69.Tonisha Dean shoots for two during the second half against Kansas Wesleyan Saturday. Dean led all scorers with 31 points in Tabor?s double-overtime, 82-73, victory.

Women?In a battle of conference-leading teams, Tabor emerged with a nine-point victory, but it took two overtime periods to get it done.

Tabor trailed early, and the Coyotes built a 9-2 lead out of the gate and led, 12-6 at the 12:38 mark. But with tough defense and an offense finding its rhythm, the Bluejays ended the first half with a 20-8 burst that put them in front, 26-20. Tonisha Dean scored the Bluejays? final 13 points of the half.

The Bluejays kept the lead until a string of seven Coyote points tied the game at 40 with 11:31 to play. Tabor again jumped in front, but the Coyotes tied it at 58 at the 3:38 mark. Dean and Tena Loewen scored to push Tabor in front, 62-58, but four Coyote free throws in a 37-second span tied the game with just 11 seconds to play. Tabor?s attempt at a winning shot fell incomplete at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

Tabor scored the first four points of overtime from the charity stripe, but then could not get a basket to fall. Meanwhile, Kansas Wesleyan used a 7-0 run to take the lead, 69-66, with 2:21 to play. Loewen chipped in a free throw, then Dean scored a three-point play to put Tabor in front, 70-69 with 40 seconds left. A Tabor foul sent Kansas Wesleyan to the line with 21 seconds left, where the first free throw hit its mark but the second missed to tie the game at 70. Again, a Tabor shot missed its mark, sending the game into a second overtime period.

Troxell ignited an 11-1 Tabor run by draining a three 30 seconds in and adding a basket for a 75-70 Tabor lead with 3:46 to play. By the time Taylor Janzen made a pair of free throws at 1:44, Tabor led, 81-71. Kansas Wesleyan managed just two free throws after that, and Troxell sealed the nine-point win with a final free throw.

Dean led all scorers with 31 points. Loewen grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with her nine points.John Jedneak draws a foul during the second half against Kansas Wesleyan Saturday. Jedneak scored 12 points in Tabor?s 72-69 overtime win.

Men?Having won in overtime just two evenings prior, Tabor once again found a way to win in overtime, this time defeating Kansas Wesleyan by three.

A Bluejay victory seemed none too probable at halftime, as the Bluejays found themselves trailing by 16, but a 20-6 run after the break put Tabor right back in the game.

Although Tabor took a 10-5 lead early on and clung to a 12-11 advantage with 13:01 left in the first half, the Bluejay offense struggled to find its stride against the Coyote zone, and Kansas Wesleyan took the lead a minute later. The Coyotes built the margin to 10, 33-23, at the 3:42 mark and from there, outscored Tabor, 9-3, to take a 42-26 advantage into the locker room.

Malik Brooks opened the second half with a three-pointer, and Tabor began whittling away at the deficit. Brooks made his sixth three of the night with 15:51 left in the game, bringing Tabor within 44-33. By the time Andrew Thomas made a free throw followed by a dunk and Chance LeBlanc drained a three, Tabor was within 46-39.

Tabor cut the lead even farther with a Kyle Baker three, a pair of free throws from Thomas and a basket by LeBlanc that brought the Bluejays within two, 48-46, with 10:09 to play. Dewayne Biggs and John Jedneak combined for three consecutive scores, pushing Tabor in front, 52-50, with 4:49 left in the game. At that point, Tabor had doubled its halftime score, outscoring the Coyotes 26-8 since the break.

The teams battled to a 59-59 tie with 1:29 to play, but the Coyotes drained a three-pointer with 21.5 seconds to go. Tabor?s first three-point attempt missed its mark, but Biggs grabbed the rebound and launched a three from the corner. The basket fell in, tying the game at 62 with just 2.5 seconds left. The Coyotes? attempt at a game-winning shot at the buzzer missed its mark.

In overtime, Tabor used a 7-2 run to take a 69-64 lead after Thomas scored a three-point play with 2:01 to go. The Coyotes added a pair of free throws, then Jedneak made a second-chance basket to push Tabor?s lead back to five, 71-66, with 16.3 seconds left. A three-pointer brought the Coyotes within 71-69 with 6.4 left, then Tabor missed two free throws. Kansas Wesleyan, however, could not secure the ball, and Thomas grabbed the ball and was fouled. He made one of two charity shots with less than one second remaining, sealing the Tabor victory.

Brooks led all scorers with 18 points. Thomas had a double-double performance with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jedneak added 12 points, and Biggs 11.

Coming?Tabor will host Bethany Thursday. The women play at 6 p.m., and the men will play at 8 p.m.

For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13

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