TC men struggle on offense, split games

Andrew Thomas scores a basket for Tabor during the first half at Ottawa. Thomas was fouled on the play and completed the three-point play for a 24-23 Tabor lead. Thomas led all scorers with 21 points in the Bluejays? 75-71 loss. <p>w Thomas scores a basket for Tabor during the first half at Ottawa. Thomas was fouled on the play and completed the three-point play for a 24-23 Tabor lead. Thomas led all scorers with 21 points in the Bluejays? 75-71 loss.The Tabor College men split their conference games last week, defeating McPherson Thurs?day at home, then losing Saturday at Ottawa. Tabor is now 3-3 in the KCAC, 10-7 overall.

Ottawa?Tabor struggled to find offensive rhythm in Saturday?s 75-71 loss.

?We put ourselves in a tough spot,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?I just felt like all night we didn?t make them work on defense.

?I thought our effort was great. We worked hard. Guys gave absolutely everything they had, but every time we got the ball on offense, I felt like we kind of played the ?me? game and didn?t get reversals and didn?t make the defense work.

?Our effort kept us in the game, but on the road, you?ve got to do everything right, and we were far from that.?

With the exception of a 4-4 tie, Tabor trailed for more than 12 minutes at the start. Marc Hopkinson and Nick Sauer hit back-to-back threes to bring Tabor within 18-17, and Hopkinson added two free throws to push Tabor in front for the first time, 19-18.

Andrew Thomas scored Tabor?s next seven points for a 26-23 Bluejay advantage with 4:47 to go before halftime. The lead changed hands a few times, and the half ended with the teams deadlocked at 29.

Tabor twice led by as many as four points in the second half, including a 39-35 margin after a D?Marco Smith dunk at 17:03. The Braves surged 8-0 from there, and Tabor never again led.

The Bluejays, however, did tie the game four times, the final time being at 57 after a dunk by Thomas with 3:32 to play.

The Bluejays were within 64-60 after a Thomas basket at 1:10, but Ottawa gained separation for a 67-60 lead with 41.9 seconds left.

Dewayne Biggs and Robbie Samuel gave Tabor four straight points from the charity stripe, then Smith scored with 23 seconds left hand the Bluejays were within 69-66.

With Tabor forced to foul, Ottawa made six of eight free throws in the final 21.4 seconds.

The Bluejays were within 73-71 after Biggs drained a three-pointer with 8 seconds left, but Ottawa held on for the win.

?We?re not executing well enough to win, especially on the road,??Ratzlaff said. ?Defensively, we played good enough to win, but offensively, there wasn?t a whole lot of rhythm because we weren?t passing the ball.?

Thomas led all scorers with 21 points. Biggs added 16 and Smith 11. Smith was named KCAC Defensive Player of the Week.

McPherson?Tabor?s game with McPherson featured 12 lead changes, and neither team led by more than nine points the duration of the game. In the end, Tabor prevailed, 69-63, thanks to the Bluejays? effort on defense.

?Defensively, we contested their shooters really, really well,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?We held them to 63 points. We?ll take that any day. The defense won it for us.?

The Bluejays started with a 4-0 lead, but a 9-0 surge by the Bulldogs left Tabor trailing just over four minutes into the game.

Nick Sauer and Robbie Samuel contributed six straight points to put Tabor back on top, 14-13, at 11:20.

The teams more or less traded scores, with the margin remaining within three. The final 5:20 of the half included two ties before a 7-0 Tabor run gave the Bluejays a 34-27 lead after a three-point play by D?Marco Smith.

Tabor took its largest lead, 36-27, less than a minute into the second half on a basket by Andrew Thomas. But McPherson closed the gap to four with five straight points.

Tabor led 44-36 after a basket by Smith, but McPherson used a 12-0 run to claim a 48-44 lead at the 10:54 mark.

Tabor trailed until Lance Carter made a three-pointer that tied the game at 52 with 7 minutes to play. Smith followed with a basket to put Tabor in front, but the lead switched hands with every possession until Smith came up big with a steal and scored with 3:05 left to put Tabor in front for good, 58-57.

Smith followed with another steal and drew a foul on the way to the basket. Two free throws extended the Bluejays? lead to 60-57.

Although McPherson twice drew within one, Tabor held on to win by six.

?We needed a spark in the second half,? Ratzlaff said. ?It wasn?t looking good, and D?Marco got us rolling.

?D?Marco has done a really good job of tracking the ball and actually taking the ball from the other team.?

Thomas led Tabor with 15 points. Smith and Carter each added 14 points.

Haskell?Tabor defeated Haskell Indian Nations University, 96-73, at home Jan. 6.

The Bluejays enjoyed a 41-23 lead at halftime, and outscored Haskell 55-50 in the second half.

Tabor shot 52.6 percent from the field (41-78). Lance Carter led the Bluejays with 18 points. Dewayne Biggs and Andrew Thomas each contributed 16 points. D?Marco Smith added 12.

Coming?Tabor will host two home games this week:?Southwestern (2-4, 12-5) at 8 p.m. Thursday and Univer?sity of Saint Mary (4-2, 10-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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