KW knocks Bluejays down to fifth

Kyle de Blonk's last-second shot saved the Bluejays bacon at Southwestern Saturday, but the Tabor College men's basketball team dropped to fifth in the conference standings with Saturday's 64-58 defeat at the hands of Kansas Wesleyan.

Tabor led Southwestern 32-27 at halftime, but had to come from behind to win 67-66.

Kansas Wesleyan?The Coyote offense revolved around Trey Sims, who scored 21 points on 10 field goal attempts, while the Wesleyan defense focused on keeping the ball out of Zack Vanselow's reach?and more or less succeeded for most of the night, limiting the Tabor post to nine points on five shots. Vanselow was 5-for-6 at the foul line.

?They did a good job of shutting down our inside game,? Ratzlaff said. ?Their help side was fantastic, and we had a hard time making some tough passes.

?I think we need to do a better job of working from the inside out,? he said. ?In order to do that our bigs must post hard and deep and I felt like that was also as issue Saturday night.?

But even without their big gun hitting with his usual regularity, the Bluejays turned an eight point deficit into a 25-25 tie late in the first half, and opened a 10-point lead when Jared Hett caught fire midway through the second half.

Hett gave Tabor a 35-34 edge with a trey from the right wing side, and Lance Baar followed with an offensive rebound and putback. Kyle de Blonk kept the drum beat going with a mid-range jump shot.

Hett then opened the margin to six, using a pump fake to start a dribble-drive past Melvin Underwood for a layup.

On the subsequent defensive possession, Hett sniffed out a jump ball win when Wesleyan?s left wing guard muffed a pass from the top of the key.

On offense, Jordan Funk outfoxed two Coyotes for a rebound in traffic and was fouled. He made one free throw for a 42-35 lead with 10:36 to go.

After Sims scored for KW, Hett?s lob pass into the paint found Vanselow for a layup.

After another set of traded baskets, a Bluejays defensive stop led to Hett nailing a 25-footer that gave Tabor its largest lead of the night, 43-33 with 8:31 to go.

But the Coyotes limited Tabor to four points over the next eight minutes and rallied behind Sims, who scored nine straight points to lift KW to a 52-51 lead on a 3-pointer with four minutes left.

?Our team shooting 21 threes can be scary, and we relied on the 3-point shot way too much late in the game,? Ratzlaff said. ?They never let up and Sims took over late…our defense let up and we couldn’t hit a shot.?

After Damon Dechant tied it at 53-53, Sims struck again with a triple over de Blonk’s outstretched hand, and the Coyotes finished the game with foul shots.

?I understand not hitting shots, but I don’t understand the lack of defense in a game like that, at home, between teams tied in the conference,? he said. ?They wanted it more than we did and they deserve the win.?

Kyle Kroeker scored five of his 10 points in the final 20 seconds, and Hett finished with 13 points.

Vanselow was held under 10 for the first time since Tabor?s 66-61 win Dec. 13 at Friends.

Southwestern?A 3-9 conference record may hide the Moundbuilders? high expectations from public view, but their pride was on display Saturday in Winfield.

The Moundbuilders fell behind 39-29 on Orson Thomas? short shot at 17:25 of the second half, but completely wiped out the 10-point deficit in just under six minutes.

Southwestern took a 46-45 lead on a post-up score by ex-Wichita State tower of power David King, and ramped its advantage to eight on a 2-pointer by Sheldon Brown with 6:23 to go.

After back-to-back Kyle Kroeker 3-pointers slashed the Moundbuilders? lead, Jared Hett burned it with a pair of foul shots that tied the game at 56.

?We fought hard all night, but a couple of mental errors almost cost us the ballgame,? Ratzlaff said. ?We need to be able to put games away and not let up when we get ahead. We have really struggled in this area all season long.?

Hett?s 3-pointer gave Tabor the lead with 3:31 remaining, but Avery Richardson forced the game’s fifth tie with a trey.

After the teams traded field goals, Bluejays freshman Seth Hardiman had his shot blocked, but found the handle and moved it to Zack Vanselow, who scored for a 63-61 Tabor lead with 1:19 to go.

King answered by scoring off an offensive rebound following a missed 3-point try.

Tabor went to Vanselow, and the Bluejays’ big man restored the lead, but Southwestern re-tied it with 21 seconds left.

Richardson’s steal with under 20 seconds left gave Brown a look at the lead?but Damon Dechant rejected his shot.

King came up with the offensive rebound, and was fouled by Hett. He missed the first free throw, but made the second, and Southwestern called for time to set its defense.

But the Moundbuilders failed to account for Kyle de Blonk, who scored with no time left to secure Tabor?s seventh conference win.

?The last play was designed to get the ball on either wing to Kyle (Kroeker) or Jared, but when they were denied Kyle de Blonk took the ball coast to coast for a tough lay up with two-tenths of a second left,? he said.

?It was a crazy win, but we should not have been in that situation in the first place,? he added. ?We have to get smarter and learn from these games.?

Vanselow scored 14, Kroeker scored 17, and 10 Bluejays put up two or more points. King led Southwestern with a 21-13 double-double, while Tim Moore and Jarrett Tyler each had 11 points.

Coming?Tabor (7-5 KCAC, 12-9 overall) hosts Friends (5-7, 9-13) at 8 p.m. Thursday and visits Saint Mary (9-3, 13-8) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Spires enter the week trailing conference leader Sterling by one game. They defeated Tabor 65-60 Jan. 8 in Hillsboro.

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