The Tabor College men?s basketball team sustained its second straight conference loss, as McPherson won the rebounding battle 50-34 and the game 79-65 Thursday night in Hillsboro.
McPherson led 33-28 at the break despite scoring on barely one of three shot attempts in the first half. How? They created 12 more opportunities than the Bluejays by dominating the glass at both ends. Antowine Lamb led the decisive effort with 16 rebounds. But Tabor?s 3-point shooting kept the Bulldogs on a short leash: Lawson Kingsley?s treys helped turn a 7-point deficit into a 23-all tie with 4:35 left in the first half. Kingsley also scored the Bluejays last basket of the half, with 2:17 remaining.
McPherson took advantage of the subsequent outage, and grabbed a 10-point lead with a run of four straight field goals interrupted only by the intermission. The Bulldogs pushed it to 11 on a traditional 3-point play 2:22 into the second half, but Tabor?s veterans nearly turned the contest around midway through the period. Kyle Kroeker posted nine points in 5:27, and with help from Dechant?s ?and-1? layup, lifted the Bluejays within four.
Then Mike Reece hit a pivotal 3-pointer?a run-killing bomb that made it 55-48 with 9:51 to go. Two minutes later, he used three free throws to restore a 10-point lead, then answered Dan Hann?s field goal with one of his own.
Rob Moore?s triple with 6:36 remaining helped Tabor cut it to six, but Trent Severs and Reece turned the late rally aside with one field goal apiece.
McPherson scored nothing but free throws the rest of the way, but was able to open the gap to as much as 15 in the closing moments.
Kroeker scored a team-high 21 for Tabor, while Dechant (14) and Kingsley (11) both reached double figures.
Four Bulldogs scored 10 or more: Reece (18), Severs (14), Marlon Dominique (11) and Charles Moore (10).
The women?s team won its first conference game of the season earlier Thursday. The Bluejays used a 31-point first half to establish a solid lead that was extended to as many as 16 points, during the second half.
Stephanie Silvas scored nine points including the 3-pointer that effectively broke McPherson?s hold on the early lead. Silvas assisted on Honn?s field goal a moment later; taken together, the baskets turned a 14-10 deficit into a 15-14 lead?after which the Bluejays did not trail.
Silvas?s layup 2:08 into the second half made it 38-22, but powered by 14 second-half points from Michelle Ducy, the Bulldogs made an uncomfortably close game of it. McPherson used a 7-0 run to tie it at 52 with 2:44 to go.
Then Andrea Robinson saw to it that no lead changes would take place. Robinson snapped Tabor out of its dry spell with a 3-pointer 20 seconds after Ducy hit the tying free throw, then answered a 2-pointer by Kristen Ozbun with three foul shots, then hit the clinching charities: one with ten seconds left, the other with five.
But Ozbun?s layup-and-1 with 1:20 to go put the pressure squarely on the Bluejays? shoulders; Robinson answered that, too. Knifing through the full-court defense to set up Tynan Honn?s point-blank field goal, Robinson literally broke the pressure with 1:12 remaining.
Ahead by two and with help from MacKenzie Dick?s offensive rebound, the Bluejays played out the remainder without having to play defense?fortunately, considering McPherson made 49 percent of its second half field goal tries along with 38 percent of its second half 3-point attempts. The Bulldogs? were just? 1-for-10 from the arc and made less than 24 percent of their shots in the first half.
Robinson totaled 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting, with three triples and four free throws. She also had four assists and six rebounds?team high in both categories. Honn totaled 17 points.
Tabor plays at Ottawa on Saturday.