TC men defeat Braves, Bulldogs

Lance Carter scores off a steal during the second half against McPherson Thursday. Carter led the Bluejay scoring effort with 16 points in Tabor’s 82-75 win. The Bluejays defeated Ottawa later in the week, 97-84.dThe Tabor College men’s basketball team improved to 6-1 in KCAC play, 7-6 overall by defeating Ottawa and McPherson last week.

Ottawa—After limiting the Braves to just 25 first-half points, Tabor earned a 97-84 victory Saturday.

The Bluejays shot the ball well all night, finishing at 56 percent from the field for the game (37-for-66), while limiting Ottawa to 41 percent (28-for-69).

The Braves made just nine of 33 first-half attempts from the field (27 percent), while Tabor made 18 of 34 (53 percent).

“We just came out really focused,” coach Micah Ratzlaff said. “We contested their shots really well and we actually got the rebound. I think (Ottawa) had four second-chance points at halftime.”

Tabor trailed, 7-6, early, then scored 17 points to Ottawa’s two in a six-minute stretch to enjoy a 23-9 lead. Six Bluejays contributed points to the effort, led by Julian Winton with five.

The Bluejays built their lead to 18 points by the end of the first half, enjoying a 43-25 advantage at intermission. Winton scored 13 of his game-high 27 in the first half.

“We just played as a team, and the first half was probably one of our better halves of the year,” Ratzlaff said. “We passed the ball really well. We got really, really good looks. We played with confidence. We got transition buckets.”

Tabor led by as many as 24, 64-40, with 11:27 to play, but over the next three and a half minutes, the Braves chipped away at the deficit, outscoring Tabor 20-7.

However, although Ottawa drew within 10 a few times, Tabor maintained a double-digit lead to the end. The Bluejays made all 10 of their free-throws attempted in the final 4:02 to finish 19-for-23 from the charity stripe (83 percent). Alan Urrutia made the last two to bring it to the final, 13-point spread.

Four Bluejays scored in double figures, led by Winton with 27 points. Davaghndre Jones and Lance Carter each scored 16 points. Carter dished out 11 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. Urrutia scored 12 points. Tullio Parry, meanwhile, recorded 17 rebounds to go with his eight points.

McPherson—Tabor earned an 82-75 victory Thursday, carried by its starters, who each scored in double figures.

The Bluejays shot 52 percent from the field (29-for-56), including a blistering 61 percent in the second half (17-for-28). McPherson shot 39 percent (26-for-67) but made 41 percent of its three-point attempts (13-for-32).

The game was tied four times in the first eight minutes, including at 15, but from there, McPherson built a 21-16 lead. Tabor closed the gap to 26-24 when Julian Winton scored at the 7:09 mark, but then the Bulldogs stretched their advantage to 31-24. Tabor ended the half on a 14-3 run. Alan Urrutia drained two three-pointers to finish the first half with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Tabor led, 38-34 at halftime.

Urrutia made his fifth three-pointer less than a minute into the second half, but the Bulldogs also found success beyond the arc, making seven of 15 attempts (47 percent) in the second half, including one at 9:19 that gave them a 60-58 lead.

Jonathan Gibson scored two baskets in succession, then Lance Carter scored, and the Bluejays maintained the advantage the rest of the way. The Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 73-71 with 1:23 to play but Tabor stretched its margin to seven with a string of five points.

Tabor made four of six free-throws in the final 16 seconds to seal the win.

“We struggled to contest shots early, and it gave (McPherson) some confidence,” coach Micah Ratzlaff said. “They shot the ball well all night long. We played really well in the second half, and we’d get up four or five or six and then they’d immediately come back and hit a big shot.

“We didn’t play our best basketball, but we found a way to get it done.”

Carter led the Bluejay effort with 16 points. Urrutia added 15, Davaghndre Jones 12, Winton 12 and Tullio Parry 11.

Coming—Tabor was scheduled to host South­western (4-3, 11-3) Tuesday in its final pre-holiday outing. The Bluejays will next be in action Friday, Dec. 30 when Science and Arts travels to Hillsboro for an 8 p.m. game. Tabor will have a rematch with Hastings Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.

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