TC rolls past Ottawa, McPherson

Davaghndre Jones splits two Ottawa defenders during the first half Saturday. Jones scored 15 points in Tabor’s 96-78 victory over the Braves. Janae Rempel / Free Press
Davaghndre Jones splits two Ottawa defenders during the first half Saturday. Jones scored 15 points in Tabor’s 96-78 victory over the Braves. Janae Rempel / Free Press
The Tabor College men’s basketball team rolled past Ottawa and McPherson last week to improve to 16-2 in KCAC play, 19-7 overall.

Ottawa—Tabor used its second-half effort to earn a 96-78 victory Saturday.

The Bluejays shot the ball well all night, making 54 percent of their first-half attempts (15-for-28), then a blazing 62 percent in the second half (18-for-29).

Following an 18-18 tie at the 11:14 mark, Ottawa outscored Tabor, 15-4, over the next 4:13 to stake a 33-22 lead. The tables turned after that, with the Bluejays enjoying a 13-2 run in a 3:39 span to tie the game at 35. Alan Urrutia capped the run with a pair of three-pointers in 23 seconds. By halftime, Tabor held a one-point lead, 42-41.

Julian Winton and Lance Carter combined to score Tabor’s first seven points of the second half to maintain a one-point Tabor advantage. But the Braves later claimed a two-point lead a few times, including 59-57 with 13:04 to play.

Carter nailed two three-pointers in just more than a minute’s time, and Tabor never trailed again. After Ottawa trimmed Tabor’s lead to 70-69, Davaghndre Jones scored to keep Tabor in front. That was the start of a 26-9 Bluejay burst to the finish. Winton scored nine points during that time. Carter scored eight.

“We rebounded better in the second half,” coach Micah Ratzlaff said. “It seemed like we just wanted it more, and it seemed like (Ottawa) wanted it more for 25, 30 minutes of the game. Julian and Lance were really good. Really tough. Made plays down the stretch.”

Carter led Tabor’s scoring effort with 26 points. Winton scored 25, Jones 15 and Urrutia 12.

McPherson—Tabor cruised to a 79-68 victory at McPherson Thursday in a game in which the Bluejays led by as many as 22.

The Bluejay defense limited McPherson to 30 percent shooting from the field in the first half (11-for-37), while Tabor made 52 percent of its attempts (14-for-27).

While coach Micah Ratzlaff said he was displeased with the 12 first-half turnovers his team committed, he could not fault his defense for its effort.

“We were really, really focused, and we had a decent game-plan,” Ratzlaff said. “We were really good on defense. Offensively, I thought the ball stuck. We had too many turnovers (in) the first half.”

McPherson jumped to a 12-7 lead six minutes in, then did not score over the next 4:11, allowing Tabor to claim the lead, 15-12. After that, the Bulldogs scored four points in 27 seconds to draw within one, then endured a nearly six-minute stretch without scoring, missing 10 attempts in a row. Tabor, meanwhile, built a 27-16 lead. By halftime, the Bulldogs trimmed that margin to 31-25.

Tabor grew its lead to double figures a few times, and used a 13-0 run to extend it even more, 62-43, at the 9:08 mark. Julian Winton contributed eight points in that stretch.

The Bluejays led by as many as 22, 70-48, when Jonathan Gibson made a free-throw with 5:55 to play, but McPherson ended the game by outscoring Tabor, 20-9, to bring it to the final, 11-point spread.

“We hit shots in the second half,” Ratzlaff said. “We executed better. We got better movement, and we didn’t settle for bad threes like we did in the first half. When we can get to the rim and not just run everybody over all the time, we’re hard to stop.”

Winton led all scorers with 20 points. Lance Carter scored 15, Tullio Parry 11 to add to his 15 rebounds, and Davaghndre Jones scored 10.

Coming—Tabor will travel to Southwestern (10-8, 17-9) Thursday for an 8 p.m. game. The Bluejays will host Bethany (9-9, 12-14) Saturday at 7 p.m.