Tabor men earn 18-point win versus Bethel College

TCmbbBethelFrise2

TCmbbBethelFrise2

The Tabor men closed their week on a high note Saturday with a win over Bethel College at home, after losing a road game Thursday to Bethany College.

The split puts the Bluejays at 7-10 overall and 3-3 in KCAC play.

?They?re doing a good job, we just have to keep driving,? said coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?Our conference will beat each other up. You just want to be toward the top, not the bottom.?

Bethel?The Bluejays dominated their home court with a 75-57 victory Saturday.

?The aura around this game is the scariest thing in the world for a coach, because you just never know what?s going to happen,? Ratzlaff said of the rivalry game. ?But I just preached to my guys to be really solid and play our game, and good things will come out of it.?

Both teams started sluggishly, with the Bluejays in front 12-5 after eight minutes.

Tabor picked up the pace as the half wore on. Phillip Jimenez came off the bench to score four points and Michael Janzen chipped in four in the next eight minutes to help Tabor to a 24-11 lead with 4:11 left.

But the Bluejays started heating up the hardwood in the last three minutes of the half.

Max Frise sparked the scoring spurt with a dunk off a steal at 2:42 and four consecutive points at the free-throw line before Jimenez drained the first three-pointer of the game with two minutes left, giving Tabor a 31-15 lead.

Cody Arnold, a senior trying to come back from a series of injuries, sank a three-pointer at 1:27.

?Cody has been through a whole lot,? Ratzlaff said. ?Due to injury, it?s taken a long time to get him back in the mix, and we didn?t know if we ever would. He had a good game tonight, and I?hope it continues.?

Frise put the exclamation point on the Bluejays? first-half performance with a dramatic dunk with six seconds left to put Tabor on top, 37-21.

If the Bluejays were hot to end the first half, they were blazing at the start of the second.

Frise flushed his third dunk of the night two minutes into the second half and Kyle Wallace came off the bench to combine with Jimenez, Lawson Kingsley and Arnold to drain six three-point shots in the first 7:30 of play.

At the end of the 22-point explosion, Tabor led 59-30.

?That blasted the game wide open and is pretty much what won it for us,? Ratzlaff said. ?When you have Kyle Wallace on your team, you never know what?s going to happen because he doesn?t make a field goal for three games, and then he comes out and shoots three threes and looks at you like it?s no big deal.

?He plays hard, he?s a really good point guard and he likes to get the team involved. When he wants to step up and be a scorer he can do it. He just very rarely does.?

A strong performance off the bench helped the Bluejays maintain at least a 20-point lead until the final three seconds of the game, when the Threshers snuck in a basket for the final 18-point margin.

Depth carried the Bluejays to victory, with 44 points coming off the bench. The Bluejays? two top scorers, Jimenez and Frise, score 13 and 11 points, respectively. Ten Bluejays scored.

?Michael Janzen came in and played really smart basketball, seemed to be in the right place at the right time,? Ratzlaff said. ?Phillip (Jimenez) gave us really good minutes. Max had fun with three dunks, which is like the best day of his life.?

?For our bench to come in and give us a boost in both halves, that?s such a big deal,? Ratzlaff said. ?That was a major difference for us.?

Bethany?Despite outscoring Bethany from beyond the arc, 15-3, Tabor couldn?t put away the Swedes Thursday, losing, 68-55.

The culprit was obvious: The Bluejays scored six second-chance points to the Swedes? 16 and were outrebounded, 50-27.

?We got absolutely beat up all over the place,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?They wanted it more. Our bigs struggled to compete and our guards couldn?t hit any shots.?

Tabor?s Lawson Kingsley started the game with a bang, draining a three in the first seconds of play. Joe Penn and Ryan Chippeaux followed with back-to-back baskets to put Tabor ahead, 7-2, at 18:05.

Kingsley nailed a three on the shot-clock buzzer and made another basket from the field to help the Bluejays hold a narrow lead.

Then neither team scored for nearly six minutes until Bethany managed a basket at 9:21.

Chippeaux finally scored for Tabor at 7:43 to give the Bluejays a 14-11 lead. By halftime, the Bluejays trailed, 26-22.

Tabor tide the game three times in the second half, but were never able to pull ahead.

Kingsley scored 17 points for Tabor, including three three-pointers. Joe Penn scored 13 and Chippeaux added 12 points and 13 rebound.

The Bluejays shot 35 percent for the game, 20 percent from three-point range and went 8-8 at the line. But Tabor lost on the boards, 46-28.

?That was the whole ball game,? Ratzlaff said. ?They got as many chances as they wanted to put the ball in the hole, and we couldn?t put the ball in the hole.

?We were in the game. We were tied with 10 minutes to go. But we just let the game go.?

Coming ?Tabor is scheduled to host Friends University Thursday before traveling to Sterling College Saturday.

Tip-off is at 8 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Saturday. See hillsborofreepress.com for same-night coverage.

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