TC splits quarterfinal games; men drop to Ottawa, women win

Tabor hosted two quarterfinal matchups against Ottawa Friday night. The No. 2 seeded Tabor men opened play and dropped a 69-53 contest to No. 7 Ottawa. The No. 2 Tabor women followed with a 44-35 victory over No. 7 Ottawa.

MEN ? The Tabor men couldn?t get things going Friday night and while the Bluejays were within five at the half, the game ended with Tabor on the short side of a 69-53 score.

The lead changed hands in the opening minutes, but Tabor?s last lead, 6-4, came with 16:31 left in the first half when Chance LeBlanc drained a three-point basket. A Cameron Rust three-pointer later tied the game at nine, but the Braves surged 7-0 before Marc Hopkinson contributed a basket behind the arc at 11:42 to draw within 12-16. The Braves answered with a three-point basket, but Tabor found a small spark when JT Nemit cashed in on a traditional three-point play and a Bluejay steal led to a Ryan Chippeaux score to draw within two, 19-17, with 9:58 left to play. But the Braves widened the gap when Tabor shots refused to fall, and Ottawa enjoyed a 34-29 lead at the half.

Ottawa continued to pound away, hitting a three-point basket 15 seconds into the second half and following just 22 seconds later with a basket off a steal to claim a double-digit, 39-29, advantage. Neither team scored the next three and a half minutes, and momentum shifted to Tabor when a Chippeaux steal led to a Jackson three-pointer at 15:58. A Brave turnover contributed to another three by Jackson 30 seconds later to bring the Bluejays within 39-35. But Tabor could not close the gap, and the Braves again surged to a 10-point, 45-35, advantage when Bluejay shots refused to fall. Chippeaux and Nemit scored back-to-back baskets to draw within 47-41 with 8:40 left to play, but the Braves used a 9-0 run to build a 56-41 lead. Ottawa maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the game and burst to its largest lead of the night, 65-43, with a three-point basket with 3:22 left to play. Jackson answered with a three-pointer 11 seconds later, and Nemit scored one final three with nine seconds left on the clock, but the Braves held the 16-point advantage when time expired.

Jackson led the Bluejay attack with 15 points. Chippeaux grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Tabor loss, paired with a 91-82 overtime loss by No. 1 University of Saint Mary to No. 8 McPherson, ends Tabor?s national tournament bid.

WOMEN ? It was a battle of the defenses Friday night, and a stifling Bluejay defense proved key in Tabor women?s 44-35 victory over Ottawa. Both teams struggled to get shots to fall in a low-scoring first half. Tabor claimed a narrow lead, but a three-point Brave basket tied the game at five with 9:36 left in the opening half. Ottawa evened the score at seven and 10 before Tabor gained a bit of distance, 17-11, thanks in part to three-point baskets by Molly Moran and Nikki Lewis. The Braves answered, however, scoring five unanswered points at the end of the half to narrow the gap to 17-16 at the break.

In the opening minutes of the second half, the lead changed hands with every score until Lewis drained a three-point basket at 16:08 that put the Bluejays in the lead for good, 24-22. Tynan Honn followed with a traditional three-point play 30 seconds later for a 27-22 score. More than three minutes passed before Ottawa scored to narrow the gap to 27-24, and another two-some minutes passed before Hannah Paust cashed in on a three-point play at 9:49 for a 30-24 Tabor advantage. Although Ottawa drew within four points a few times in the final nine minutes, Tabor maintained the lead to the end and enjoyed a nine-point advantage when time expired.

Coming ? The Tabor women will face No. 3 Southwestern Saturday at home, with tipoff set for 8 p.m. The winner will advance to the championship game at Hartman Arena Monday at 8 p.m.








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