After splitting two KCAC games last week, the Tabor College men?s basketball team currently sits in a three-way tie with Bethany and Saint Mary for first place in the conference.
Saint Mary?Tabor led by as many as 10 points in Saturday?s 95-90 loss.
Both teams shot the ball well for the game, with Tabor connecting on 34-64 attempts (53.1 percent) and the Spires making 33-62 attempts (53.2 percent).
The game remained within three points for nearly the first 10 minutes before Jaylon Sims, John Jedneak and Dewayne Biggs scored in succession to give Tabor a 28-21 cushion at 9:08. The Bluejays increased their margin to 36-26 after Kyle Baker drained a three.
A 7-0 run by the Spires cut Tabor?s lead to 36-33, and the teams traded baskets. The half ended with the Bluejays in front, 40-35.
Both teams continued to experience success on offense, and Tabor increased its lead to 53-46 when Jake Arck scored on a traditional three-point play with 15:22 left in the game.
The Spires outscored Tabor 13-6 over the next three minutes to tie the game at 59, and Saint Mary took its first lead of the half with 10:31 to play. The teams traded scores and locked heads at 65 after Lance Carter scored at 9:48. The Spires outscored Tabor 20-5 after that, though, to enjoy their largest lead of the game, 85-70, with 5:11 to play.
Malik Brooks and Jedneak scored the next seven points to cut the margin to eight, and after Carter and Brooks each made a pair of free throws, Tabor was within 86-81 with 2:10 to go. Carter made a traditional three-point play to cut it to 90-86 with 49.7 seconds left, but Tabor missed a shot, allowing the Spires to boost their lead to 94-86 with 31 seconds to play.
Carter scored, then Tabor forced a turnover, and Brooks made two free throws to trim it to 94-90 with 15.2 left. But the comeback fell short, as the Spires scored the final point from the charity stripe and Tabor?s final shot missed.
Carter led Tabor with 22 points. Brooks added 18, Jedneak 17 and JT Nemit 11. In the second half, Tabor shot 60.7 percent from the field (17-28), while the Spires shot 64.3 percent (18-28).
Friends?Tabor?s only two leads came in the first 30 seconds and the final 5 seconds, but that was all it took to defeat the Falcons, 70-69, Wednesday to secure sole possession of first place in the KCAC.
Jake Arck opened scoring with a basket, but after that, although the score was tied four times, Tabor trailed until the final seconds.
The Bluejays shot 33.3 percent from the field in the first half (10-30), including 0-10 from three. Andrew Thomas tallied 13 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. But Tabor trailed, 33-27, at halftime.
?(Friends) really, really, really showed up and played well, and we couldn?t guard them,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?Then finally they couldn?t guard us and we hung around, and then finally at the very end, we got a couple stops and made a couple big buckets, obviously, and literally, that?s the difference.?
After the break, the Bluejays outscored Friends, 12-6, to tie the game at 39 after Lance Carter drained two three-pointers in less than a minute?s time. Friends took a five-point lead, but Tabor closed the gap to one a few times.
With Tabor trailing, 51-50, the Falcons used a 12-4 burst to enjoy a 63-54 lead with 7:10 to play. But Tabor came back to tie it at 66 with 3:50 to go.
After both teams missed a shot, Friends scored two free throws at 2:54, but as a result of two Tabor turnovers and three Falcon misses, neither team scored again until JT Nemit made one of two free-throws with 24.7 seconds left to bring Tabor within 68-67. Friends added a free throw with 16.4 seconds to play, making it a two-point game.
Tabor called timeout with 10.9 seconds left. Jedneak in-bounded the ball to Carter. Malik Brooks set a screen, and Carter passed it back out to Brooks, who made the game-winning three-pointer with just 5.5 on the clock. The Falcon shot at the buzzer missed its mark, and Tabor snuck out with the one-point win.
?(Lance) made the right decision, obviously,? Ratzlaff said. ?Everybody (went) to Lance and left Malik wide open.?
Thomas led Tabor with 21 points. Carter added 13 and Jedneak 10.
Oral Roberts?Tabor lost an exhibition game to the NCAA Division I Golden Eagles Tuesday, 94-53.
ORU established its advantage from the start, cruising to a 16-0 lead before Malik Brooks made a three at the 13:34 mark.
That was the start of a 12-6 Tabor burst, and when Lance Carter scored at 9:01, Tabor was within 22-12.
Tabor never trimmed the deficit to single digits, and trailed 43-24 at halftime.
Brooks scored Tabor?s first six points of the second half from behind the arc, trimming ORU?s lead to 45-30. But Tabor managed four points in the next three minutes. By the time Jonathan Gibson scored at 14:55, ORU?s lead was 58-36.
ORU led by as many as 44, 92-48, with 2:34 to go, and Tabor trailed by 41 in the end. Brooks led Tabor with 12 points. The Bluejays were out-rebounded 50-34.
Coming?Tabor (9-3, 12-11), who is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 poll, will host McPherson (4-8, 8-16) Thursday at 8 p.m. and will host Bethel (2-10, 8-16) Saturday at 7 p.m.