The Tabor College basketball teams got off to a bumpy start Wednesday with a pair of losses to the College of the Ozarks Bobcats in Hillsboro. The Tabor women, ranked 12th by the NAIA, were overwhelmed by the No. 6-ranked Bobcats, 92-53. The Tabor men, ranked 16th, absorbed a 73-67 defeat against the 1-1 Bobcat men. The College of the Ozarks teams had already played two games prior to Wednesday, and it showed.
WOMEN—The Bluejays ran with the Bobcats for the first two quarters. They trailed 21-14 after one quarter and 41-34 at halftime, and were shooting a solid 48 percent from the field.
But the wheels fell off for Tabor in the third quarter. Through the 10-minute period, the home team managed a mere seven points while the Bobcats ripped the nets for 33. The Bluejays shot with less than 28 percent success in the second half.
Kristin Wedel led Tabor with 12 points, with Amber Bonham, Tristen Leiszler and Morgan Ediger each adding seven. Meanwhile, the Bobcats had four players in double-figures, led by Shelby Roberts with 20, Kelsie Cleeton with 17, Madisen Brethower with 12 and Abby Oliver with 11.
MEN—The Bluejay men started the game and the season with an athletic burst that propelled them to a 25-15 lead midway through the first half. Senior Julian Winton pitched in 11 of those points.
Tabor was still ahead, 32-19, with a little less than eight minutes left in the half when the scoring efficiency began to wain for both teams. Tabor managed a mere two points over the final 2:25 of the half, enabling the Bobcats to cut the lead to 37-31 by intermission.
Both teams went ice cold through the first four minutes of the second half. Tabor hit only two of eight shots from the field and the Bobcats went 1-for-7. But College of the Ozarks began to right itself in a way that Tabor couldn’t, cutting the Bluejay lead to 49-48 with 11:54 left in the half. Scoring all but bottomed out for both teams over a three-minute scoreless stretch. Winton finally broke the drought with a 3-pointer at 8:44 mark, giving the Bluejays a 52-48 edge.
Down the stretch, the Bobcats regained their shooting touch to lead Tabor by as much as 71-63 with 34.8 seconds left on the game clock. With a skillful use of timeouts and defensive pressure, Tabor pulled to within 71-67 with 17 seconds left, but the Bobcats finally put the kabosh on the comeback to claim their second win in three games.
Winton led both teams with 26 points. Teammate DeShun Patterson added 17 and Jon Manjon Beristain 10. As a team, the Bluejays shot 41 percent from the field while the Bobcats shot 47 percent. Heath Carmichael led College of the Ozarks with 18 points. Canyon Smith added 13 and Calvin Allen 12.
COMING—Tabor will hit the road Saturday for Chickasha, Okla., for games against the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.