Winners of two straight and three of its last four, Tabor grabbed a double-digit lead in the first half and never looked back, defeating Southwestern 80-67 during church spirit night in Hillsboro on Saturday.
Lawson Kingsley completed his second 20-point performance of the week, shooting 4-for-6 from three in front of a packed house to lead Tabor. Kingsley and the Bluejays look like a new team, playing inspired basketball during the stretch run of the season.
?We?ve grown up,? said Tabor coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?Guys are playing smarter and harder. They?re doing a good job.?
Saturday?s game against Southwestern, redeemed a 76-71 loss in overtime in Winfield on Jan. 14. Tabor blew a 10-point second half lead in the first meeting.
?I told my guys ?we owe them one? because they stole one from us down there,? said Ratzlaff.
In the opening minutes of the first half, both teams battled until Tabor went on a 9-0 run to give Tabor a 19-9 lead with 10:30 to play in the first half. At the 6:30 mark, the Bluejays took a permanent double-digit lead with a Cody Arnold 25-foot three. Arnold?s bomb put Tabor up 27-15.
Tabor took its biggest lead a 47-24 with 15:53 left to play in ball game. Southwestern made a late surge, tightening the Bluejays lead to 12 at 75-63 with 2:31 left.
Tabor shot 62.5 percent from three in the second half and shot 53.5 percent from the field for the game.
Damon Dechant finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. One of his blocked shots came in the second half in a one-on-one match up at the rim with Southwestern?s Marcus Batiste.
Daniel Hann scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists. Michael Janzen scored 11 points and made 7-of-8 free throw attempts. Arnold finished with eight points, eight rebounds. Other Tabor scorers were Ryan Chippeaux (7), Rob Moore (5), Clay Shewey (3) and Jason Hett (2).
Southwestern was led by Justin Diggles with 13. James Davis and Tim Miser finished with 12.
Tabor improves to 7-9 in the KCAC and 10-15 overall. Depending on how St. Mary and Kansas Wesleyan fair in the final week of KCAC play, Tabor has a chance to move into the KCAC fifth spot to avoid a play-in game to the KCAC tournament.
Tabor hosts? St. Mary (7-9, 14-12)?on Thursday and travels to Wichita to take on Friends (15-1, 20-6). The Falcons clinched the KCAC regular season title with a 63-60 win at McPherson on Saturday.
The Tabor women?s team fell behind early to Southwestern, losing 58-41 in Hillsboro on Saturday night.
Turning the ball over 24 times, Tabor gave up 22 points off turnovers. The Bluejays were outrebounded 37-28.
Three Moundbuilders finished in double-figure scoring, led by Tylar Hartfield with 16 points, seven rebounds. Jordyn Cossman finshed with?14 and Jasmine Manuel had 12.
Tabor was led by Tynan Honn with 11 points, seven rebounds. Vivian Olvera finished with eight points, six rebounds and MacKenizie Dick scored eight points. Other scorers for Tabor were Tiffany Bulk (5), Molly Dick (4), Stephanie Silvas, Sara Wyckoff (2), and Nichole Gentry (1).
Tabor fell to 4-11 in KCAC play and 6-20 overall. Tabor still has a shot to avoid a KCAC tournament play-in game with a fifth place KCAC finish.
If the Bluejays can defeat?St. Mary (3-13, 6-20) in Hillsboro on Thursday and Friends (8-8, 12-14)?in Wichita on Saturday and Bethany and Ottawa lose their games in the final week of KCAC regular season action, Tabor will finish in the KCAC fifth spot.