Tabor men split with KW, Bethany

The Tabor men are 2-2 since the break, going 1-1 last week. The Bluejays started the week with a win at Kansas Wesleyan Thursday night but came up short at home Saturday.

Kansas Wesleyan ?Tabor?s 72-59 victory over Kansas Wesleyan in Salina is best described as a tale of two halves.

After starting the game with a 14-5 run, Tabor saw its lead dwindle as KWU grabbed its first lead at 17-16 with nine minutes left in the first half. The Coyotes led by as much as eight before Tabor came back to tie the game at 28 with under three minutes in the stanza.

Tied with the KCAC basement dwelling Coyotes 30-30 at half, Tabor coach Micah Ratzlaff made some adjustments defensively.

?With their flex offense, we were switching everything,? Ratzlaff said. ?They were catching up with mis-matches, and at halftime we decided to just throw all that out the window.?

Ratzlaff told his team to play straight up man-to-man instead of switching off screens. The adjustment not only created more intensity on the defensive end of the floor but proved to help the Bluejays on the boards and offensively.

?It kind of gave us an edge,? Ratzlaff said. ?We rebounded better, got some stops and I thought it helped us be way better on the offensive end. When you?re aggressive like that and you?re going as hard as you possibly can and you?re having to fight, that?s going to pay off on the other end.?

In the second half, Tabor held the Coyotes to 36 percent shooting from the field. The Bluejays found their stroke, shooting 48 percent from the field and 5-9 from three.

After falling behind early in the second half, Tabor retook the 41-40 lead with under 14 minutes remaining and never looked back. Tabor would extend its lead to as much as 14 points in the final minutes.

Damon Dechant led all scorers with 20 points. He also pulled down nine rebounds. Lawson Kingsley added 18 and Kyle Kroeker 13.

Kansas Wesleyan finished with three players in double figures. Joe Harvey led the Coyotes with 16.

On a 10-game losing streak, the Coyotes fell to 0-5 in KCAC play and 3-11 overall. They have yet to win a game in Mabee Arena this season.

Bethany?Tabor was unable to secure its first home KCAC victory Saturday night, falling to to Bethany 72-66.

In a game that saw six lead changes and five ties, Tabor failed to maintain a lead in the second half.

After tying the game at 41-41 with 13:17 left in the game, Tabor gave up a 3, then fouled Jason Schneider on a made 3-point shot. The ensuing free-throw completed a four-point play to gave Bethany a 48-42 advantage.

The Swedes would extend th lead to 50-43 before Tabor would make another run. Scoring five unanswered points during a 9-1 outburst, Tabor took a 52-51 lead with eight minutes left on a drive and layup by Damon Dechant. After losing the lead than tying the game up again, Tabor fell behind 65-58 with 2:45 remaining.

The Bluejays continued to battle, bringing the game to within four with 29 seconds left. Janzen connected on a 3 from the right wing to narrow the Swedes? margin to 68-64.

Bethany hit two free throws on the other end to make the score 70-64. With 10 seconds left, Tabor cut Bethany?s lead to four again on a put-back by Daniel Hamm.

Tabor?s hopes ended when Lawson Kingsley was whistled for a foul away from the ball on the ensuing inbounds. Schneider hit two foul shots to end the game with a six-point margin.

Tabor coach Micah Ratzlaff said the Bluejays didn?t take away enough Bethany opportunities late in the game.

?They would shoot the ball and miss and then they?d get the ball back,? he said. ?We gave them too many chances to score down the stretch in the second half.?

Guard play was also a key factor, as Tabor allowed Bethany?s Schneider to score a game high 22 points.

?We made some mental mistakes,? he said. ?Some we shouldn?t have made on guarding (Schneider). That was the difference in the ball game right there.?

Leading the way for Tabor was Dechant, with 19 points and six rebounds. Daniel Hamm added 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting and Cody Arnold finished with 11 points.

Kyle Kroeker left the game early due to injury.

Tabor is 6-9 on the season and 3-3 in KCAC play and stands in a four-way tie for second with Bethany, South?western and Bethel.

Tabor travels to Winfield to face Southwestern (7-9 overall, 3-3 KCAC) on Thursdays. The Moundbuilders are on a four-game losing streak.

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