Two losses drop Tabor men into second place behind Sterling in KCAC title race

The Tabor College men fell at home Saturday in a heart-breaking upset at the hands of Southwestern College (8-8, 16-9).

This loss, combined with the one to McPherson on Thursday, dropped Tabor (11-5, 17-8) below conference rival Sterling College (12-4, 16-10) in the KCAC standings.

?Ugly,? was the word coach Micah Ratzlaff used to describe the game.

?This was the worst loss of the season for us, definitely.?

The Bluejays held a narrow early lead over the Builders, helped by two three-point shots from Lawson Kingsley in the first 10 minutes.

But the Builders battled back to tie the game, 18-18, with just over two minutes left in the half. Tabor took care of business, though, maintaining a 22-20 lead at halftime.

The two teams traded long baskets to start the second half. Tabor managed to maintain a narrow lead throughout the early minutes. But the lead began to unravel as the Builders tied the game at 35 with just under five minutes left.

Tabor?s Damon Dechant scored off a Kyle Wallace assist, then on an athletic shot backward and over his head. But it was barely enough to keep the Bluejays ahead, 41-37.

The Builders tied the game, 41-41, with a minute left. They stopped the Bluejays, then David King drove toward the and was fouled. He made one of two free throws to give them the one-point victory.

?Careless with the ball, all game,? said Ratzlaff, summarizing the reasons for their defeat. ?No confidence on the offensive end at all.?

The Bluejays committed several costly turnovers in the last few minutes of the game. Overall, the Builders scored 12 points off Tabor?s mistakes.

?The guys need to step up and make plays,? Ratzlaff said. ?We?ve got to find a way to bounce back.?

Dechant had another solid night in a losing cause. He was the only Bluejays player to reach double digits, scoring 13 points. Ethan Randolph and Chris Nelson each scored 14 for Southwestern.

McPherson?Tabor fell into a first place tie with Sterling following its 68-61 defeat at home to (9-6, 15-11).

?I felt like we got outworked in the second half,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said.

?We outworked them the first 20 minutes, and they outworked us the second 20 minutes. Obviously, theirs was bigger because they won.?

The Bluejays played a strong first half, playing well defensively and hitting three long three-point shots to give them a respectable 29-25 lead at the half.

The game began to fall apart for Tabor in the second half, as poor defense and rebounding bit them hard.

The Bulldogs pulled into a 46-46 tie with 11 minutes left to play, and then pulled ahead seconds later.

Lawson Kingsley momentarily shifted the momentum back in Tabor? favor with a three-pointer, electrifying the crowd. But the Bulldogs held on to their lead.

The Bluejays rallied to tie the game twice in the final six minutes, once at 56 and then at 60. But they could not make the shots needed to overtake the Bulldogs.

?We were really good defensively in the first half,? Ratzlaff said.

?The guys were really focused. I thought we lost our focus on the defensive end, which got us behind, and that put all the pressure on our offense.?

He said the game was fun to watch, but it all fell apart for Tabor for a few minutes and the Bluejays could not pull it out.

?The execution was there,? Ratzlaff said. ?We just didn?t get the ball in the hole enough.?

Damon Dechant led the Bluejays with 16 points. Phillip Jimenez added 11.

Trent Severs led the Bulldogs with 11 points while Chris Crawford and Mason Hewitt each contributed 10.

Coming?Tabor will face off with Friends University (8-8, 11-16) on the road Thursday before traveling to Bethany College (9-7, 11-15) Saturday.

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