Tabor?s win streak ends versus top KCAC teams

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TCmbbStMaryMFrise

The Tabor men?s win streak ended this week with back-to-back home losses to the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the KCAC, Sterling College on Thursday and the University of Saint Mary on Saturday.

The losses leave the Bluejays with a fourth-place finish in the conference at 10-8 and a 14-15 record overall.

?They keep fighting,? said assistant coach Anthony Munson. ?It doesn?t matter who it is, they keep battling and grinding it out, and we love them for that. We?re so blessed to have a good group of seniors. The hard part is going to be replacing all of them.?

Saint Mary?The Tabor men couldn?t keep up with the Spires? high-powered offense as they fell to the KCAC?s second-place team, 77-68.

The Spires got off to a good start, but the Bluejays rallied to take a 29-28 lead when Ryan Chippeaux scored at the free-thow line with 5:27 left in the half. The Spires answered with an 18-3 run to lead 46-32 by halftime.

Saint Mary?s offense overwhelmed Tabor in the second half, as the Spires built a 24-point lead. The Bluejays rallied to within seven points as the clock ran down, but could not pull out the win.

Forward Max Frise had his strongest performance of the season with a team-high 23 points. Chippeaux finished with his ninth double-double?best in the KCAC?with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Lawson Kingsley added 10 points.

Sterling?Tabor ran out of gas in the second half and let a halftime lead slip away in an 80-68 loss Thursday versus Sterling College.

?Turnovers and offensive breakdowns,? said assistant coach Anthony Munson in summary. ?It kind of felt like the whole night was us beating ourselves, rather than them beating us. But you can?t really say that because they made the plays.?

The Bluejays knew they?d have to bring out their A-game to beat a Sterling team that defeated them on the road a few weeks ago. They did just that in the first half.

Sterling took a 6-2 lead but Tabor rallied when Cody Arnold and Gavin Serene drained back-to-back three-pointers to give Tabor an 8-6 lead at 14:11. That sparked a back-and-forth fight that saw six lead changes over a 9:30 stretch.

Kyle Wallace scored at 9:32 and Serene followed with another basket from the perimeter to give Tabor a lead for the rest of the half.

The Warriors drew within one point of the Jays, but Tabor hit three three-pointers?from Serene, Wallace and Max Frise?in the last seven minutes of the half to help the Bluejays to a slim 40-35 lead at the break.

The second half was a different story altogether. Tabor came out sluggish, turning over the ball and going soft on the defensive end.

Sterling put together a 12-6 run to start the half and grab a 47-46 lead. The Warriors drew away before Arnold tied it up again from three-point range.

A flurry of baskets on both ends concluded with Sterling taking a two-point lead with 5:55 left, then drawing away with a 17-6 run to close out the game.

Serene led the team in scoring for the second game in a row, putting up 16 points that included four three-point baskets. Wallace scored 13 points and Ryan Chippeaux and Arnold each chipped in 12.

Half of Arnold?s points came from beyond the arc, helping the Bluejays to go 7-for-11 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes. They also shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 38 percent in the second half.

But Sterling out-rebounded a smaller Tabor team, 40-21. The Warriors also scored 12 points off turnovers to Tabor?s six.

?Down the stretch we couldn?t execute, couldn?t hit shots,? Munson said. ?They made their layups in the second half and we didn?t.?

Coming?Tabor College, seeded fourth in the KCAC tournament, is slated to host No. 5 Southwestern College Thursday in the quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

If Tabor wins, the Bluejays will take on the winner of a quarter-final matchup between No. 1 McPherson and No. 8 Bethany in semifinals play Saturday at 7 p.m.

See hillsborofreepress.com for same-night coverage.

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