The Tabor College basketball teams earned a pair of victories over Oklahoma Wesleyan Thursday night. Both Bluejay squads are now 5-0 in KCAC play.
Women?The 21st-ranked Bluejays earned a 75-60 victory over the Eagles, who were receiving votes in the latest Top 25 poll.
The teams battled fairly evenly through the first quarter. Tabor led by as many as 19-13 after Mallory Zuercher made back-to-back baskets and Tena Loewen chipped in a free throw. Oklahoma Wesleyan ended the first quarter with a 5-0 run to close the gap to 19-18 at the first break.
The Eagles? streak continued into the second quarter as OKWU took the lead, 23-19. Then Taylor Deniston caught fire, rattling off back-to-back-to-back three-pointers. Sam Short followed with a two-pointer that put Tabor in front, 30-23. The Bluejays led, 33-30 at halftime.
OKWU outscored Tabor, 20-15, in the third quarter and took a 50-48 lead heading into the final period.
The Bluejays turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Eagles, 27-10. Zuercher scored Tabor?s first seven points?she scored 10 in the fourth quarter?and after Jurnee Reid scored twice, Tabor was in front, 59-52.
With the Bluejays leading, 62-57, Short ignited an 8-0 run that put the Bluejays firmly in front, 70-57. Tabor built to its largest lead at the end.
Zuercher and Deniston shared top scoring honors with 16 points apiece. Zuercher secured a double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds. Tena Loewen added 12 points, and Reid 10.
Men?The 15th-ranked Bluejays defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan, 91-82, Thursday.
The teams remained within four points the duration of the first half, which included nine ties.
Jonathan Gibson scored the game?s first four points to give Tabor the early lead, but Oklahoma Wesleyan claimed it. The lead exchanged hands as neither team established much separation.
Tabor led, 29-26, but OKWU used a 7-0 run to take the lead. The Bluejays tied the game twice after that but did not jump in front. The Eagles clung to a narrow, 41-40 advantage at halftime.
With the Bluejays trailing, 48-45, Malik Brooks drained a three-pointer to ignite an 8-0 run. Brooks capped it with another three, and Tabor never trailed again. The Eagles closed the gap to one a few times, the last at 59-58. From there, Tabor outscored OKWU 10-2 thanks to seven points from Alan Urrutia and a three-pointer from Lance Carter that put Tabor in front, 69-60, with 10:51 to play. The closest the Eagles got after that was within three, and the Bluejays ended the game with a 5-0 run to claim the nine-point win.
Tabor went to the free-throw line 41 times and made 31 attempts (76 percent). Carter and Brooks shared top scoring honors with 19 points apiece. Urrutia added 11 points and D?Marco Smith 10.
Coming?Tabor will host McPherson Saturday. The women?s game is at 5 p.m. The men will play at 7 p.m.
For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13