Tabor teams cap KCAC and regular season with sweep of Ottawa

The Tabor College basketball teams completed their KCAC seasons as well as the regular seasons Saturday with an almost perfect Senior Night send off by sweeping Ottawa University with two come-from-behind victories.

The Tabor women knocked off the Braves 65-53 after trailing 26-18 in the second quarter. The men’s team trailed Ottawa 33-18 midway through the first half, but pulled within one point by halftime and dominated play on the way to a 100-79 win.

WOMEN—The Bluejays got off to a lukewarm start, and trailed the visiting Braves 15-11 as the first quarter ended. With 3:04 left in the second quarter Tabor was still trailing, 26-18, when Amber Bonham drained a 3-point basket at 2:43 that lit a fire under her teammates.

Tabor ended the half with a 12-5 run with four different Bluejays scoring. Bonham finished the run as she started it, with a 3-point basket with 27 seconds left to pull the Bluejays to within one point of the Braves at 31-30.

The end of the second quarter was a preview of what the third quarter would bring. Tabor scored 11 unanswered points to start the quarter and never really slacked off by outscoring Ottawa 20-9 by the time the third quarter ended.

Heading into the fourth quarter with a 50-40 lead, Tabor finished the game trading points with their opponents by securing the 12-point victory.

Morgan Ediger led the team with 16 points, all in the second half. Bonham, who scored 11 points in the first half, finished with 15. Taylor Deniston tossed in 10. As a team the Bluejays shot nearly 55 percent (24-44) from the floor while Ottawa was successful 37 percent (16-43) of the time.

The win gives Tabor a final KCAC record of 12-10, which ties them with Kansas Wesleyan for sixth place. The Bluejay will move on to the KCAC tournament by placing among the top eight teams. As of this writing, Tabor’s first-round opponent had not been confirmed for the Wednesday night tournament opener.

MEN—The way the Ottawa Braves were hitting 3-point baskets as the game began, Tabor appeared to be heading for trouble. Ottawa got off to a 12-5 start less than 3 minutes into the contest. About halfway through the first half, the lead was 13 at 31-18.

When Julian Winton nailed a 3-point basket from the corner, it ignited a quick 10-point burst within 1:30. DeShun Patterson added one 2-point and two 3-point baskets in succession.

The game continued a give-and-take scoring mode between five- and seven-point spreads. But Tabor ended the half a 9-3 run that closed the gap to 47-46 by intermission.

The second-half margin between the two teams remained razor close. But with Tabor trailing Ottawa, 70-69, with 7:45 to play, Michael Russell came off the Tabor bench for a deep three with 7:30 to play. Alan Urrutia followed with a 2-point basket that opened the scoring gates for Tabor with a 26-9 charge to the end of the game.

Five Bluejays finished with double digits: Winton with 24 points, Urrutia with 16, Patterson with 15, Diontre Cutliff with 13 and Gaven Schumann with 10.

Both teams shot right at 47 percent for the game. Tabor had one more 3-point basket than Ottawa (11, 10), but the Bluejays biggest advantage was at the free-throw line. The home team made 19 of 24 attempts while Ottawa made 11 of 19. Another key statistic was turnovers. Tabor committed only 10 while Ottawa gave away 21 possessions.

The win boosts Tabor’s KCAC record to 13-9 and a three-way tie for fifth place. Tabor’s overall record improved to 14-14. Tabor will head to Bartlesville, Okla., Thursday to take on the Oklahoma Wesleyan Eagles in a first-round tournament game. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The two teams split the regular-season series, with each winning on their home floor.

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