Kyle Kroeker zips a pass through traffic on a drive-and-kick play in the first half of Tabor?s 87-61 loss to Mid-America Christian Saturday at the Sterling Classic.
With a winless weekend at the Sterling Classic, the Tabor College men?s basketball team has posted a 1-4 record starting the non-conference season.
The Bluejays took a 78-72 loss against the Langston Lions on Friday and lost to Mid-America Christian by an 87-61 score on Saturday afternoon.
Mid-America Christian turned a 2-0 lead into a 19-9 advantage during the first 6:30 of Saturday?s game.
The Bluejays cut the Evangels? lead to seven when Conner Hampton knocked down a 3-point shot assisted by Daniel Hann on the subsequent possession, but the Bluejays allowed a backbreaking 12-0 run during the 1:37 that followed.
Tabor did not lead and trailed by as many as 22 points during the first half. Largely through a transition offense built on turnovers and effective run-outs of defensive rebounds, Mid-America?s lead peaked at 38-16 with 8:35 left in the first half. Although the Evangels continued to score consistently, Tabor put together a stretch of 5:12 during which the Bluejays pulled within 11 points, at 45-34.
The run was largely of junior foward Damon Dechant?s making, as the veteran knocked down four field goals, the last of which came with an ?and-1? free throw courtesy of Mid-America reserve forward Arcelon Osborne.
The Bluejays also hit two 3-pointers: one by Rob Moore assisted by Hann and one by Cody Arnold assisted by Dechant.
Simultaneously, the Bluejays defense cut the Evangels? offensive production from 3.4 points per minute down to 1.3?the net effect of which was Tabor closing the gap to 45-34 on the way to a 51-36 halftime deficit.
On 3-pointers by Kyle Kroeker and Moore, the Bluejays twice pulled within 12 shortly after the intermission. But after Mid-America?s transition offense produced 10 points in 2:08 midway through the second half, restoring a 22-point lead and effectively ending the game.
Mid-America?s Brandon Williams led all scorers with 19 points and also produced five assists and four steals with four turnovers.
Dechant led the Bluejays with 16 points, and Hann scored 12 points alongside eight rebounds and three assists without a turnover.
Damon Dechant powers through a collision with John Shodipo (30) and avoids the quick hands of Brandon Williams (15) and Cameron Langster (34), but gets called for traveling. He totaled 16 points.
The Bluejays have blocked nearly three shots per game this season, but blocked none on Saturday.
Langston?Three Bluejays scored double-figures, but the balanced effort was not enough to offset a 22-point night by Lions guard Catrell Currie.
Currie scored two 3-pointers 31 seconds apart during the fourth minute of action, countering the strong start that had the Bluejays leading 8-7 at 15:28. After the second of Currie?s 3-point shots put Langston ahead 10-8, Cody Arnold restored an 11-10 lead for Tabor with a 3-pointer off a setup by Rob Moore.
But the Lions hit five treys over the next nine minutes and took a 36-19 lead.
Tabor?s answer was to get Damon Dechant and Daniel Hann going, and the forward combination accounted for 13 of the Bluejays final 18 points of the half. After Currie restored the Lions lead to 43-32, Moore knocked down a 3-pointer to cut Langston?s lead to 43-35 at halftime.
The Bluejays outscored Langston 7-1 starting the second half, pulling within 44-42 on a pair of foul shots by Kyle Kroeker.
Langston scored the next six points, but the Bluejays again cut it to two with 3-pointers by Kroeker and Arnold and four free throws by Ryan Chippeaux making it 54-52 with 11:54 remaining.
Tabor finally broke through to take a 68-67 lead on a basket by Hann assisted by Dechant with 3:05 to go. Kroeker?s third three of the game restored the 1-point lead with 1:36 left, but Alvin Lewis answered for Langston and the Lions finished it off with free throws.
Dechant scored 16 points, Hann scored 15 and Kroeker scored 14, while Chippeaux (8) and Arnold (8) produced all of the 16 points scored by Tabor?s bench.
Coming?Tabor (1-4) played after the press deadline Monday night at Baker and is scheduled to play at the Cameron University Classic Friday and Saturday.
The Bluejays begin conference play Dec. 5 at Sterling.