The Tabor College men?s basketball team enjoyed a home sweep of their Post Holiday Classic to start the new year.
The Bluejays earned wins over Benedictine and Central Baptist last week to improve to 8-6 on the season.
?I?m just happy for the guys,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?The guys are doing a good job. I think we got two wins this weekend because we had a great week of practice. We?ll just continue to work hard.?
Central Baptist?Tabor defeated Central Baptist 85-71 Saturday night.
?We?ll take it,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?The other team, they didn?t quit. They hit some big shots, and they kept themselves in the game.
?They put some pressure on us. They made us turn the ball over, and so we?ve got to do a better job of doing the little things and taking care of the basketball.?
The Bluejays fell behind early, but Robbie Samuel scored six straight points to give the Bluejays their first lead, 10-9, at the 13:21 mark.
Less than 30 seconds later, a three-point basket gave Central Baptist the lead for the final time, 12-10.
Tabor answered with a 12-0 run over the next three minutes?fueled by two three-pointers from JT Nemit and one from Cameron Rust?for a 22-12 lead with 9:54 left in the half.
The Mustangs surged 6-0 to draw within 22-18, but Tabor pulled away for a double-digit lead at 28-18 on an Andrew Thomas dunk. The Bluejays led 37-28 at halftime.
Thomas scored eight of Tabor?s first 10 points after halftime to give the Bluejays a 47-35 lead with 16:36 to go.
Central Baptist drew within 54-48 before Nemit and Nick Sauer hit back-to-back three-pointers to push Tabor?s lead back into double digits.
Central Baptist twice drew within seven points, but Tabor re-established a double-digit lead behind the shooting of Thomas. During a span of just over four minutes, the junior scored 10 of Tabor?s 12 points. That gave Tabor its largest lead of the night, 74-57, with 4:03 to play.
Despite four three-point baskets by the Mustangs in the final four minutes, Tabor protected its double-digit lead the rest of the way to win by 14.
Thomas finished with a game-high 23 points. Nemit added 11 and Sauer 10.
?It was good to see Andrew Thomas finally get going down the stretch,? Ratzlaff said. ?He had a good game. Without him, we would?ve really struggled.
?I thought Nick Sauer hit some big shots. JT Nemit continued to shoot the ball well for us, and then Lance Carter was playing really, really well.?
Benedictine?Prior to Friday?s game, Benedictine had lost once this season?an 87-85 overtime defeat by Tabor in the first game of the season.
After that, Benedictine?ranked 13th in NAIA-Division I?reeled off 10 wins, including a 73-59 victory over Columbia College, the No. 1 ranked team in NAIA-Division I.
But Benedictine?s streak ended Friday at the hands of the Bluejays, who earned a 72-65 victory to hand the Ravens their second loss.
?We actually came out with big-time intensity from start to finish,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?There was a stretch early in the second half where we gave up that 15-point lead, but then we crawled back on top and just kept fighting.
?Huge win. Benedictine?s been rolling through everybody.?
After trailing 2-1, the Bluejays gained the lead on a Lance Carter three-pointer with 18:03 left, and did not trail the rest of the first half.
Tabor increased its lead to 15-5 when Jonathan Gib?son made a basket, then enjoyed its largest lead of the half, 29-12, after Dewayne Biggs scored with 7:31 to play.
A three-pointer brought Benedictine within 33-24 with 3:04 left, but Tabor extended its lead to 40-25 by intermission.
Out of the break, Benedictine chipped away at the Bluejay lead. A 15-0 run gave the Ravens a 51-48 lead with 10:33 left to play.
JT Nemit answered with a three-pointer to tie the game. The score was tied twice more before Tabor grabbed the lead for good when Carter scored with 6:48 left for a 57-55 Bluejay advantage.
Tabor then pulled away, 70-59, after Biggs made a layup with 39 seconds left. The Ravens were unable to make up the difference.
Biggs led all scorers with 21 points. Carter added 20 and Nemit 14.
Coming?Tabor (2-2, 8-6)?was scheduled to host Haskell Indian Nations Monday. The Bluejays will host McPherson (1-3, 8-8)?at 8 p.m. Thursday, then travel to Ottawa (2-2, 7-7)?Saturday for a 5 p.m. contest.