TC men drop Falcons, 67-64

With a 67-64 win over Friends Thurday in Hillsboro, the Tabor
College men's basketball team rebounded from a tough loss to Kansas
Wesleyan and regained a share of fourth place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic
Conference standings. The Coyotes lost to Ottawa 82-71 Thursday.

Zack Vanselow and Damon Dechant powered the
Bluejays offense, which shot 54 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Kyle
Kroeker's 3-for-6 night from the 3-point line put the Bluejays, who
trailed much of the night, in the lead with a trey from the top of the
key. Kroeker's long ball made it 59-58 with 7:35 to go, and the
Bluejays did not trail afterward.

Tabor jumped out to a 5-0 lead
on Kroeker's first triple 1:29 into the contest, but Friends took the
lead at 15:22 of the first half and held it throughout the middle
minutes of the game. Kroeker briefly tied it with a 3-pointer with 6:47
left in the first, but the Falcons used hot 3-point shooting of their
own to open up a 34-30 halftime lead.

Friends shot 6-for-9 from
distance in the first half and continued the hot streak into the second
period?the Falcons knocked down nine of their first 11 shots after the
intermission. But led by Lance Baar, Mike Rousell and Seth Hardiman,
the Bluejays second unit committed a few fouls and established a less
permissive tone around the Tabor basket. Having dulled the Falcons'
offense, Hardiman and Rousell worked the ball into the post, setting up
Dechant's layup-and-1 and three good looks for Lance Baar. Jared Hett
hit a 3-pointer set up by Hardiman, and Baar's tip-drill layup cut what
had been a 10 point deficit down to a single point, 53-52.

Then
Vanselow went to work and scored, setting the stage for Kroeker's
lead-changing shot. A moment later, Dechant made it 63-60, Tabor.
Friends answered stylishly, as Brandon Graber's alley-oop lob found
Mike Hyde for a 2-handed dunk. Kyle de Blonk responded for the
Bluejays, scoring a tough layup off the dribble to make it 65-62 with
2:35 left.

With defensive intensity oozing out of every pore,
both offenses sputtered to the finish line. Tabor back-to-back
turnovers?a shot clock violation and a travel?after allowing only one
giveaway after halftime. But unlike the first half, in which Friends
punished 13 turnovers with 13 points, the Falcons failed to find the
net until the final minute. Tyler Thompson's layup cut it to one, but
Damon Dechant buried the Falcons hopes of an upset under two free
throws. Friends set up three looks at a last-ditch 3-pointer in the
final 20 seconds, one of which was voided when de Blonk committed a
foul away from the ball in transition. The other two triple-tries
missed badly.

Vanselow led Tabor with 17 points, Dechant scored 14 and Kroeker scored 11. Graber's 19 points set the game high.

On
the women's side, Tabor muffed a 28-17 halftime lead with a 6-for-26
shooting drought in the second half and fell by a 50-47 final score.
The Bluejays struggles were particularly evident at the foul line (nine
of 21) and from 3-point range (zero of 10).

Gina Hullet's
traditional 3-point play with 13:48 to go put Tabor ahead 37-25, but
the Falcons shredded that margin in only seven minutes. Friends limited
Tabor to 18-5 to take a 43-42 lead with 7:07 to go. The Bluejays
trailed by as much as four during the stretch run, but closed the gap
to 48-47 with 3:22 left. But the teams combined to score just two foul
shots the rest of the way?both by Mary Onelio, who clinched it for the
visitors with 55 seconds left.

Hullet finished with 13 points and Kirsten Watson grabbed 11 rebounds.

Up next, Tabor visits University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, with game times set for 5/7 p.m. Saturday.

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