Tabor splits games at Ottawa

Both of Tabor?s games at Ottawa were decided by four points Saturday night. When time expired, the Bluejay women held a 65-61 lead, but the Tabor men endured a loss to the Braves, 75-71. Mallory Zuercher drives toward the basket during the first half at Ottawa Saturday. Zuercher made the basket and was fouled, completing the three-point play to give Tabor an 18-16 lead. Zuercher led Tabor with 14 points in the Bluejays? 65-61 win.

WOMEN?Saturday?s contest between Tabor and Ottawa was a close one, with neither team extending its lead beyond seven points the duration of the game.

Down the stretch, it was Tabor who prevailed, 65-61.

The teams traded baskets to start the game. Tena Loewen scored four of Tabor?s first six points, but Ottawa gained separation for a 10-6 lead before Nikki Lewis brought Tabor within one with a three-point basket at the 15:05 mark. From there, the Braves surged to their largest lead of the night, 16-9. Tabor had an answer, however, and back-to-back baskets by Janelle Rust ignited a 9-0 surge that put the Bluejays back in front, 18-16, with 9:11 left in the opening period. Tabor did not trail the duration of the first half, although the score was tied twice before intermission. The Bluejays led, 30-28, at the break.

The Braves used a 6-0 surge out of the break to reclaim the lead, 34-30, with 18:00 left, and with the exception of one tie at 38, Tabor trailed for more than the next seven minutes.

After Zuercher hit a three with 10:49 left, Tabor trailed 46-45. Rust followed with a basket and then Zuercher hit a second three, giving the Bluejays a 50-46 lead. Zuercher hit her third three-pointer with 6:58 left to put Tabor up by five, 53-48. But after a 7-0 Brave run, Ottawa regained a 55-53 lead. Loewen and Dean combined for five straight points to switch the lead back to Tabor, but missed Bluejay opportunities at the charity stripe kept Ottawa within striking distance, and the Braves took a 59-58 lead with 1:26 remaining.

Kaleigh Troxell came up big with a three pointer with just under one minute to play, but Ottawa tied it at 61 with 39.6 seconds left. Rust missed a shot but Loewen grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She made both free throws to put Tabor in front, 63-61, with 14.1 left on the clock. Troxell came up with a steal, and Ottawa sent her to the charity stripe, where she made both free throws. Ottawa?s last-second three-point shot missed its mark, and Tabor won by four.

Zuercher led Tabor with 14 points. Rust added 12, and Loewen and Dean each contributed 10. Lewis had 11 assists.

MEN?The Tabor offense struggled to find its rhythm in Saturday?s 75-71 loss to Ottawa.

With the exception of a 4-4 tie, Tabor trailed for more than the first 12 minutes of the game. Marc Hopkinson and Nick Sauer hit back-to-back threes to bring Tabor within 18-17, and Hopkinson added two free throws to push Tabor in front for the first time, 19-18.

Andrew Thomas scored Tabor?s next seven points for a 26-23 Bluejay advantage with 4:47 to go before halftime. The lead switched hands a few times, and the half ended with the teams locked at 29.

Tabor twice led by as many as four points in the second half, including a 39-35 margin after a D?Marco Smith dunk at 17:03. The Braves surged 8-0 from there, and Tabor never again held the lead. Tabor, however, did tie the game four times after that, the final time being at 57 after a dunk by Thomas with 3:32 left in the game.

The Bluejays were within 64-60 after a Thomas basket at 1:10, but Ottawa gained separation for a 67-60 lead with 41.9 seconds left. Dewayne Biggs and Robbie Samuel gave Tabor four straight points from the charity stripe, and Tabor was again within three, 69-66, after a Smith basket with 23 seconds left. With Tabor forced to foul, Ottawa battled from the charity stripe, making six of eight free throws in the final 21.4 seconds.

The Bluejays were within 73-71 when Biggs drained a three-pointer with 8 seconds left, but Ottawa held on for the four-point win.

Thomas led all scorers with 21 points. Biggs added 16, and Smith 11.

COMING?Tabor will host Southwestern Thursday. The women play at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 p.m.

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