Tabor splits KCAC opener at Southwestern

The Tabor College basketball teams split their first conference games at Southwestern Thursday.

Women?Tabor defeated No. 17 Southwestern, 62-48.

The Bluejays held the upper hand in the turnover category for the game, forcing 19 Moundbuilder turnovers, which they turned into 24 points. Southwestern, meanwhile, forced 12 Tabor turnovers, but gained only three points from them.

To start, Southwestern scored the game?s first six points, but Tabor followed with a string of 11 unanswered, capped by a three-point basket by Hannah Willems at the 11:59 mark. Aside from an 18-18 tie, Tabor held the lead the duration of the first half and took a 27-23 advantage into the locker room at the break.

While the Moundbuilders held the higher shooting percentage in the first half, making 10 of 19 attempts (52.6 percent) compared to 32 percent for the Bluejays (8-25), Tabor scored 11 points off 11 Moundbuilder turnovers, compared to zero points off eight turnovers for Southwestern.

The teams battled to a 29-29 tie in the opening minutes of the second half, but from there, Kayla Wilgers capped a 7-0 Tabor surge with a three that put the Bluejays in front, 36-29. The Moundbuilders fought back to a 40-40 tie but never took the lead. The Bluejays then enjoyed a 15-4 run capped by a two-point basket by Sam Short off a turnover that gave them their first double-digit lead, 55-44, with 4:02 left in the game. After that, it was smooth sailing, as Tabor maintained a double-digit cushion the rest of the way.

Tabor shot 39.6 percent from the field (21-53), compared with 40.5 percent for Southwestern (17-42). Taylor Janzen led Tabor with 13 points. Mallory Zuercher grabbed 10 rebounds and scored nine points. Sam Short and Kaleigh Troxell also chipped in nine points each.

Men?Tabor lost to an undefeated Southwestern squad by three, 67-64.

The Moundbuilders claimed an early lead, but a Malik Brooks three-pointer put Tabor in front, 12-11. A 6-1 Bluejay surge extended Tabor?s lead to 18-12 when Jonathan Gibson scored, and Tabor maintained the advantage and built to its largest lead of the night, 27-20, after consecutive baskets by Jake Arck. Tabor took a 29-25 lead into intermission.

With Tabor in front, 35-30, after an Andrew Thomas basket, Southwestern scored nine unanswered points to reclaim the lead for good. Twice, the Moundbuilders led by as many as 11 points, the final time being, 53-42, with 8:26 left to play. Tabor chipped away at the deficit, drawing within 53-49 when Thomas made a basket. After the Moundbuilders extended it to 57-49, Dewayne Biggs and John Jedneak combined for eight Bluejay points to Southwestern?s one over the next 2:34 to bring Tabor within 58-57. Tabor was within one twice more, the final time at 63-62 with 28 seconds left. Thomas scored with 11 seconds left for a 66-64 margin, and Southwestern added a free throw. A Tabor three-point attempt at the buzzer missed its mark.

Tabor shot 40.3 percent from the field (25-62), while Southwestern shot 36.7 percent (22-60). The Bluejays committed 15 turnovers to Southwestern?s nine.

Two Bluejays turned in double-double performances. Thomas led the team in scoring with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jedneak added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Arck chipped in 12 points.

Coming?Tabor will host Friends Saturday. The women?s game is at 5 p.m. The men?s game is at 7 p.m.