TC men defeat Spires, 83-69 – Tabor Secures KCAC Title

Malik Brooks drains a three-pointer to give Tabor a 64-50 lead over Saint Mary Saturday. Brooks made seven three-pointers and led all scorers with 28 points in Tabor?s 83-69 win. The seventh-ranked Tabor College men earned wins over Saint Mary and Sterling to improve to 18-0 in KCAC play and clinch the regular-season title last week. The Bluejays are 25-3 overall.

Saint Mary?It was a tale of two halves Saturday as Tabor clinched the KCAC title with an 83-69 victory.

In the first half, Tabor struggled to contain a red-hot Spire offense that shot nearly 61 percent from the field (14-23). At the same time, the Bluejays struggled to score, making just 35 percent of their shots (12-34).

In a polar opposite second half, Tabor made 58 percent of its shots (21-36), while limiting Saint Mary to 31 percent (10-32).

?They switched one through five,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?We started trying to run our sets, and we looked like we were a step slow.

?We were a little bit flat, even though D?Marco came out shooting the ball really well. It?s basketball. You?re never going to play a perfect game. You?ve just got to be able to adjust and change bad habits, and we did that really well.?

D?Marco Smith was the only Bluejay to score in the first six minutes. His three treys kept Tabor within five of the Spires, 14-9.

The Bluejays continued to trail, and Saint Mary built a double-digit lead late in the half, 35-25. Malik Brooks made five of his eight first-half points in the final minute, including a three-pointer that brought Tabor within 36-30 at halftime.

Brooks continued to find success after intermission, providing an offensive spark. He scored two- and three-point baskets in succession and later made his fourth three-pointer of the night to push Tabor in front, 44-42. Brooks hit his fifth three at the 12:43 mark.

After a Spire three-pointer, Tullio Parry scored to ignite a 10-0 run. Smith contributed six points to the effort, for a 61-47 Bluejay lead with 10:00 to play. Brooks made his final two threes less than 30 seconds apart. He was fouled on the second one and completed the four-point play, giving Tabor a 68-52 advantage.

Tabor enjoyed its largest lead, 81-63, after Smith scored with 2:48 to go, and the Bluejays led by 14 when the final buzzer sounded.

?In the second half, not only did Malik shoot the ball really well, but we didn?t settle a whole lot,? Ratzlaff said. ?We were in attack mode.?

Brooks led all scorers with 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field, including 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. Smith added 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including 4-for-7 from three-point range. Lance Carter and Davaghndre Jones each scored 10.

Sterling?Tabor clinched at least a share of the KCAC title with a 79-67 victory Thursday.

The Warriors took the lead, but Davaghndre Jones scored twice to put Tabor in front for good, 4-3. Jones scored eight of Tabor?s first 11 points, and a 9-0 run courtesy of Jones, Lance Carter and D?Marco Smith put the Bluejays up by double figures, 16-5.

Smith, Tullio Parry and Alan Urrutia each made a three-pointer in a two-minute span, then John Jedneak scored Tabor?s next eight points. By the time Smith drained another trey, Tabor?s lead was 36-19.

The teams more or less traded scores the rest of the half, giving Tabor a 44-29 advantage at intermission.

The Bluejays outscored Sterling, 18-8, to start the second half. Seven Bluejays contributed to the effort, which was capped by a basket by Parry with 12:39 to play, giving Tabor its largest lead of the night, 62-37.

Coach Micah Ratzlaff cleared his bench en-route to the 12-point win.

?I thought we moved the ball really well,? Ratzlaff said. ?We got really good looks. Very rarely did we ever force a shot. We shot the ball well early, which helped us a ton to get us out of the gates, and then it kind of just went from there.?

Ratzlaff praised the Bluejays? effort.

?I thought we outworked them,? he said. ?I thought we were quicker to loose balls. You could just tell we really wanted it.?

Smith led the Bluejays with 15 points. Jedneak added 14, Jones 13, Carter 12 and Malik Brooks 10.

Coming?Tabor will wrap up the regular season this week. The Bluejays will travel to 19th-ranked Southwestern (15-3, 24-4) Thursday at 8 p.m. Tabor will play at Bethel (9-9, 11-17) Saturday at 7 p.m.

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