The Tabor men found their stride again Saturday with a road win over Kansas Wesleyan, after suffering a humbling 28-point loss defeat to McPherson earlier in the week.
The Bluejays now have a 10-13 record and are 6-6 in conference play.
?We need to find a way to play good, consistent basketball for 40 minutes,? said coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?We must continue to get better in practice if we want to compete the rest of the season. I think the guys will respond and put in more effort in practice.?
Kansas Wesleyan?The Bluejays downed the Coyotes, 87-75, in Salina after trailing by four points at the half.
Forward Ryan Chippeaux scored a team-high 21 points to help fuel the win, despite getting into foul trouble early and sitting out much of the first half.
Both teams were hot out of the gate. The Bluejays jumped to a 7-2 in the first two minutes, but KWU came right back to tie it. The teams traded the lead or tied the score five more times before halftime.
The Bluejays were fairly strong from beyond the arc, with Joe Penn hitting two shots three-point range and Lawson Kingsley and Cody Arnold each adding one.
With 3:15 left in the half, Michael Janzen scored to make the score 26-26, but the Coyotes got the edge on the back-and-forth battle as the clock wound down, putting up six unanswered points in the last three minutes before Kyle Wallace drove to the basket to make it 32-28, KWU, at the break.
The Bluejays practically seared a trail out of the locker room, blazing their way to 14 back-to-back points in the first three minutes of play.
Chippeaux came off the bench to put up eight of those points, including a dunk, and Kingsley scored from beyond the arc and on a fade-away in the paint to help Tabor outscore the Coyotes, 14-2.
KWU rallied to gain a 12-10 scoring edge in the next four minutes, but Kingsley drove to the basket at 12:34 to make it 54-48. Unfortunately for Tabor, the senior injured his ankle shortly after and did not return to the game.
But the bench had things well in hand, as Arnold sank another three-pointer a couple minutes later and Janzen scored off a steal at 7:27 to give Tabor their first double-digit lead of the game, 56-67.
Arnold and Wallace drained threes within 1:22 of each other, bringing Tabor up to 77-62.
Chippeaux closed the game for the Bluejays, adding six points to Phillip Jimenez’ three-pointer in the final three minutes to give Tabor the eight-point margin of victory.
?We struggled for the first 20 minutes and played really sluggish and soft,? said coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?The second 20 minutes was the exact opposite. The guys looked fresh and played with an aggressive attitude. Kyle Wallace and Ryan Chippeaux played really big roles in our second half turnaround.?
The Bluejays had six players in double digits for scoring, with Kingsley putting up 14, Wallace and Joe Penn scoring 11 each and Arnold and Janzen contributing 10 points a piece.
McPherson?Tabor faced McPherson Thursday hoping for a second straight upset of a KCAC leader, but instead got chewed up by the Bulldogs? hot first-half shooting en route to a humbling 76-48 defeat.
?We were not ready to play and that can’t happen against a great team on the road,? said head coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?They took advantage of everything and ran us out of the gym. This was an embarrassing loss. I thought we were ready to play and I was wrong.?
As if McPherson wasn?t imposing enough with a 9-1 conference record and a 20-2 mark overall, the Bulldogs enjoyed one of their better shooting halves of the season on the way to a 50-26 halftime lead. McPherson drained nine three-pointers along the way and shot nearly 50 percent from the floor.
Ryan Chippeaux was an early spark for Tabor, scoring five points in the first two minutes, including a dunk on a nice feed from Mike Wallace. But with the scored tied at 5-5, McPherson ran off eight straight points and began building a lead Tabor could not overcome.
When Michael Janzen scored for Tabor at the 12:47 mark to pull the Jays back to within 18-11, McPherson delivered a hoops haymaker with a 12-0 run over the next four minutes for a 30-11 lead.
Even though Tabor rediscovered its shooting eye the rest of the half, the Bluejays couldn?t stop the Bulldogs from scoring on the other end. McPherson went into the locker room with a comfortable 50-26 lead.
Both teams cooled off in the second half, but Tabor?s thermostat bottomed out at just over 18 percent accuracy (7-38) as the Bluejays threw up a bushel of three-point shots in a desperate attempt for points?but only two hit the mark.
Chippeaux, who scored 13 points in the first half, finished as Tabor?s top scorer without scoring another point the rest of the game.
McPherson had three players in double figures, led by Aaron Frazier with 15.
Coming?Tabor is scheduled to host Ottawa University Thurs?day before a home game with Bethany College Saturday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Saturday. See hillsborofree?press.com for same-night coverage.