Tabor?s home games against Bethany Wednesday could hardly have been more different, at least as far as scoring was concerned. Whereas the Tabor women gained a double-digit lead less than eight minutes into their 74-43 blowout victory, the Tabor men ended on the losing side of a 77-75 score, with neither team gaining more than a nine-point advantage.
WOMEN?Tabor led from start to finish Wednesday. When the Swedes managed only a three pointer and a free throw for more than the first eight minutes of the game, Tabor secured a 15-4 advantage after Taylor Janzen scored at 12:40.
Although Bethany decreased the margin to nine, Janelle Rust and Mallory Zuercher combined for the next six points for a 21-6 score. Tabor maintained a double-digit advantage the duration of the game. The Bluejays? largest lead of the first half was 36-12. Bethany scored the half?s last six points for a 36-18 score at intermission.
Tabor scored 10 unanswered points out of the break and led, 46-18, when Zuercher scored at 17:22. Dean, Rust and Kaleigh Troxell later combined for nine straight points for a 61-26 score. Tabor?s largest margin of the night was 38 points.
Fifteen Bluejays saw playing time in the 31-point win.
Rust scored a game-high 19 points. Zuercher added 13. Nikki Lewis contributed 10 assists, and Janzen grabbed 10 rebounds.
MEN?Tabor let a nine-point first-half lead slip into an eight-point second-half deficit, and although the Bluejays battled back, Bethany held the final advantage, 77-75.
Tabor faced the second-ranked scorer in NAIA Division II in Swede guard Idris Ibn Idris, who is averaging 28.2 points per game.
Tabor fell behind by two free throws to start the game, but Dewayne Biggs and Robbie Samuel scored seven straight points for Tabor.
Andrew Thomas later followed a basket with a dunk after a Samuel steal for a 13-6 score.
Tabor managed to stay in front, and a Smith three followed by a David Loewen free throw put the Bluejays up by nine, 35-26, with 4:11 to play in the first half. Tabor led, 38-30, when Smith grabbed a steal, scored and completed the three-point play, but the Swedes narrowed the gap to 38-34 at halftime. Idris was responsible for 17 of Bethany?s first-half points.
The Bluejays maintained the advantage to start the second half, but Bethany cut it to 45-43 with a three-pointer at 16:02. Lance Carter fired a three in response, but the Swedes took the lead, 49-48, when a three-pointer followed a three-point play.
Tabor?s scoring drought continued, and an Idris three-pointer made it 54-48. The Swedes scored another three less than a minute later and followed with a free throw to stake their largest lead of the night, 58-50.
But the Bluejays battled back into contention. Thomas, Biggs and Smith scored three consecutive baskets when Bethany shots refused to fall, giving Tabor a slight advantage, 65-64, with 6:30 to play.
Tabor led by three, 69-66, when Thomas made two free throws, but the Swedes tied it at 69. Biggs tied the game at 73 with a three-point play with 2:05 remaining, but Bethany scored four consecutive points after a Tabor turnover.
Thomas narrowed the gap to 77-75, with less than a minute to play. Bethany missed a one-and-one opportunity with 35.1 seconds to go, and Carter grabbed the rebound. Tabor called timeout with 24.8 left on the clock. Biggs was fouled with 8.3 seconds remaining and had a chance to tie the game at the charity stripe, but neither shot fell, and Bethany gained possession. Tabor sent the Swedes to the free-throw line with 3.7 seconds to go. The one-and-one missed its mark, and Tabor grabbed the rebound, only to have the Swedes steal a deep pass down court to seal the game.
Idris finished with a game-high 28 points. Thomas led Tabor with 17. Smith added 16, Biggs 15 and Carter 11.
COMING?Tabor will play at Bethel Saturday. The women will open action at 5 p.m., with the men?s game following at 7 p.m.