Tabor men split first KCAC games

Dewayne Biggs (3) makes a two-point basket in the second half at Bethany Saturday. Biggs led all scorers with 30 points, but Tabor fell to the Swedes, 102-86.The Tabor College men split their first two conference basketball games last week, first a narrow 76-75 victory over Kansas Wesleyan Thursday, then a 102-86 loss to Bethany Saturday.

Bethany?Tabor never led against the Swedes.

?Defensively, (we) really struggled,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?The main thing was rebounding tonight. We had to play so many defensive possessions because we couldn?t get a rebound; (Bethany) just kept shooting.?

The Swedes grabbed 50 rebounds to Tabor?s 29.

After a 4-4 start, the Swedes hit four three-point baskets to stake a 23-9 lead at the 15:21 mark.

Bethany?s lead remained in double figures until the 7:58 mark, when Andrew Thomas made four consecutive free throws to narrow the Swedes? lead to 36-27.

Tabor drew to within 38-32 when Lance Carter drained a three-pointer, but Bethany widened the gap to 53-37 with back-to-back threes with 37 seconds left in the first half.

Two free throws by JT Nemit and a basket by D?Marco Smith at the buzzer narrowed Bethany?s lead to 53-41 at intermission.

After the break, Tabor pulled to within 54-48 when Nemit drained a three-pointer. But Bethany used a 9-0 run to regain a double-digit lead. The Swedes maintained it the duration of the game and won by 16.

?I think the minute our team relaxes, we get our tails kicked,? Ratzlaff said. ?We can?t relax. We?ve got to stay focused.

?It?s my fault. I?ve got to do a better job of putting a team out on the basketball court that will be able to compete.?

Dewayne Biggs led Tabor with a game-high 30 points. Thomas added 15 and Nemit 14.

Kansas Wesleyan?Tabor escaped with a 76-75 win over the Coyotes Thursday.

?It?s good to get a conference win,??coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?I?m happy we won.

?I didn?t think our effort was great the entire game, and I thought Kansas Wesleyan came out and actually out-hustled us and out-played us for most of the game.?

The Bluejays fell behind early, but a dunk by Andrew Thomas evened the score at 13-13 at the 12:24 mark. Tabor took its first lead after that on two free throws by Marc Hopkinson.

The lead changed hands a few times, but Tabor gained a 38-31 advantage by the break.

?We haven?t played against a lot of zone,? Ratzlaff said. ?Probably 75 percent of the game we went against a zone, so we really struggled shooting the ball in the first half.?

Nick Sauer hit a three-point basket to start the second half, but the Coyotes pulled in front, 51-50, with 12:31 to play.

Just over eight minutes later, Tabor trailed 70-63, but a three-point play by Sauer and a dunk by Thomas drew the Bluejays to within 70-68 at the 3:39 mark. Two free throws by Dewayne Biggs tied the game at 72.

After Lance Carter tied the score again at 75 on a three-point basket with 1:10 remaining, Biggs was fouled 20 seconds later. He missed the one-and-one opportunity, but Tabor regained possession on a jump ball with 23 seconds left.

Biggs was fouled with 2.5 seconds left to play, but this time made one of two free throws to put Tabor in front, 76-75. Carter grabbed the Coyote inbounds pass to seal the victory.

?We just never quit,? Ratzlaff said. ?We need to play better, but I?ll give Kansas Wesleyan a ton of credit. They walked in here and my goodness, they were focused. They played their tails off.?

Thomas led the Bluejay attack with a game-high 24 points. He achieved a double-double with 13 rebounds.

?This is by far the most minutes (Andrew?s) played since he?s come back (from injury), and this was by far the hardest he?s played since he?s come back,? Ratzlaff said. ?It?s good to see that.?

Biggs added 15 points, while Sauer scored a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Tabor played without starter Robbie Samuel because of an ankle injury. Ratzlaff said Samuel could be back this week.

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