?I was a little nervous coming in,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?(Bethel?s) had plenty of games this year where they?ve been extremely competitive. I just told our guys, ?You need to show up and try to play hard for 40 minutes.??
Andrew Thomas scored Tabor?s first 10 points en route to his team-high 20 for the night.
With Tabor leading 13-9 after a three-pointer by JT Nemit, the Threshers scored five straight points to grab a slight advantage. The Threshers? last lead was 18-17. After a 20-20 tie, the Bluejays began to take control. Dewayne Biggs scored six of Tabor?s next 10 points and D?Marco Smith, Nemit and Cameron Rust each chipped in a three-pointer in the final 4:40 of the half to push Tabor?s lead to 40-31 by halftime.
The Bluejays outscored Bethel 13-2 out of the break to boost the margin to 53-33 when Biggs made a basket at 15:52.
Nick Sauer drained two three-pointers in just over a minute?s time, and the teams traded baskets.
Bethel narrowed the gap to 69-56, but Tabor scored 11 straight points to lead 80-56 when Robbie Samuel made a second-chance basket with 6:24 to play. Samuel scored the next five points for Tabor.
The final minute became a three-point show as the teams scored four baskets in succession from behind the arc. Kareem Diop hit one for Tabor with 55 seconds left. Bethel answered eight seconds later.
Nick Rice then drained a three with 35 seconds to go, and Bethel countered with 29 seconds left.
?We?re working on being consistent on the court, effort-wise,? Ratzlaff said. ?I thought rotations were really good off the bench for us, and we had guys show up.?
Tabor shot 67.3 percent from the field (37-55) including 59.1 percent from behind the arc (13-22). Thomas led Tabor with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Biggs and Sauer each scored 14, Samuel 13 and Nemit 12.
Bethany?Tabor saw a nine-point first-half lead turn into an eight-point second-half deficit, and although the Bluejays battled back, Bethany held on for a 77-75 victory.
?Bethany?s really, really good,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?I was happy to be in the game and have the opportunity to tie it at the end. We just missed some free throws and made a lot of mistakes?but made some plays throughout the game.
?It was one (victory) we wanted to get because we were at home, and we?ve been good at home. It just didn?t go our way.?
Tabor faced the second-ranked scorer in NAIA Division II in Swede guard Idris Ibn Idris, who averages 28.1 points per game.
The Bluejays 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 and David Loewen free throw put the Bluejays up by nine, 35-26, with 4:11 left in the first half. Tabor led, 38-30, when Smith stole the ball, scored and then completed the three-point play. But the Swedes narrowed the gap to 38-34 by halftime. Idris had 17 points for Bethany.
The Bluejays maintained the lead as the second half began, but the Swedes took the lead, 49-48, when a three-pointer followed a traditional three-point play.
With Tabor?s scoring drought continuing, an Idris three-pointer made it 54-48 before Bethany established its largest lead at 58-50.
But the Bluejays battled back into contention. Thomas, Biggs and Smith scored consecutive baskets, giving Tabor a 65-64 advantage with 6:30 to play.
Tabor led 69-66 when Thomas made two free throws, but the Swedes tied it at 69. After Bethany inched ahead, Biggs tied the game at 73 with a three-point play at 2:05, but Bethany scored four 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 remaining. Biggs was fouled with 8.3 seconds left and had a chance to tie the game at the charity stripe. Neither shot fell, and Bethany gained possession.
Tabor sent the Swedes to the line with 3.7 seconds to go. The one-and-one failed, and Tabor grabbed the rebound, only to have the Swedes steal a deep pass down court to seal the win.
Idris finished with 28 points. Thomas led Tabor with 17. Smith added 16, Biggs 15 and Carter 11.
Coming?Tabor (7-5, 14-9) will play at Sterling (10-2, 9-1)??who received votes in the latest Coaches? Top 25 poll?Thursday at 8 p.m. and will play at McPherson (5-7, 12-12)?Saturday at 7 p.m.