It may have been the most frustrating week of Tim Swartzendruer’s highly successful seven-year tenure at McPherson College.
For the second time in three days, Swartzendruber saw his team experience a confidence-sapping offensive outage in an 87-67 loss to Tabor College, once again shooting under 40 percent. Mac is now 0-4 at the Sport Center and has yet to shoot 40 percent in its normally friendly confines.
The Bulldogs, who had started KCAC play with a monumental road upset of nationally ranked Bethany College, have floundered to three straight losses and sagged to 4-9 overall with an exhibition game left on Tuesday at Emporia State.
The teams were on near-even terms for the first seven minutes — Mac was up 13-12 — when the Bluejays took off on a 32-12 run to close out the half and it was never close again.
“For whatever reason we have just struggled to get off to a good start,” said Swartzendruber, whose team shot 29 percent in the first half while the Bluejays torched it for 67 percent for the 44-25 lead. “We missed so many shots in the lane. In the first half, I felt like we had a lot of easy baskets we missed. We were 5 of 11 at the foul line. It’s just hard to understand.”
Tabor later widened the gap to as many as 30, but to the Bulldogs’ credit they battled hard and shaved the lead in the final 10 minutes.
The loss spoiled a superb game by the consistent Darius Hill, who dominated for 30 points and 14 rebounds. DeAndre Henson added 11 points. Mac was hampered by the loss of starting point guard T.J. Grant, who suffered a shoulder injury and played only 11 minutes.
Justin Malan came off the bench to lead Tabor with 17 points. The Jays finished the game hitting 57 percent from the floor and now find themselves in a four-way tie for first place in the KCAC with Bethany, Saint Mary and Friends.
Mac (67) — Parker 2, Hill 30, Henson 11, Lakin 4, Buchara 4, Jolly 6, Beeler 2, Martinez 6, Bevan 2.
Tabor (87) — Thomas 10, Jedneak 14, Biggs 9, Arck 10, Brooks 13, Rice 6, Malan 17, Bacon 2, Gibson 6.
• Tabor women 67, Mac 56 — The Bulldogs and Bluejays were tied at 34-all right before the half when the Bluejays’ Mikaelyn Dick made a 3-pointer for a 37-34 lead.
That kick-started a Bluejay run, as they went on a 16-1 rip to start the second half before Mac roared back to make it respectable.
The Bulldogs finish pre-Christmas KCAC play at 1-3 and are 2-12 overall.
Three-pointers were the difference as Tabor scorched it for 11 of 24 while Mac was 6 of 19. The Bluejays’ Kayla Wilgers was 6 of 10 and finished with 25 points, the only Tabor player in double figures.
Bailey Brown continues to play her heart out for Mac, scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds despite being only listed at 5-5. Callie Atkins scored 10 of her 13 points in the first half.
“This is like two games in a row that somebody has gone off on us from 3-point and had a career night,” said Mac coach Gordon Reimer, whose team gave up seven treys on Thursday to Kansas Wesleyan backup guard Katie Pfeifer. “I’ve got to tip my hat to her (Wilgers), she had a great shooting night. But I really liked what I saw out of my team tonight. They responded real well from playing probably their worst game of the year on Thursday to one of their best games of the year tonight.”
Mac takes a much-needed break as its next game is Jan. 2 against Peru State in the Kansas Wesleyan Classic in Salina.
Mac (56) — Atkins 13, Demaret 2, Brown 23, S. Smart 8, Jefferson 2, Abra 1, G. Smart 7.
Tabor (67) — Dean 8, Short 2, Wilgers 25, Zuercher 7, Troxell 9, Hurd 3, Dick 6, Loewen 3, Janzen 4.