HILLSBORO — There were two assists missing from the stat sheet for the Tabor College men Thursday night in their 67-56 victory over McPherson College.
They should have been credited to Southwestern and Sterling, which upset Bethany College and Saint Mary, respectively.
Because of that, the Bluejays found themselves alone in first place after a wild night of KCAC action. Tabor is now 10-3, while Bethany and Saint Mary are a game back at 9-4, with Friends and Southwestern two back at 8-5.
Tabor never once trailed against the Bulldogs, as two huge runs gave it the working margin it needed.
The Bluejays, up just 15-14, closed the first half strong on a 14-6 rip for a 29-20 halftime lead. Then in the second half, after the Bulldogs had charged back within 31-29, Tabor let loose with a 16-5 sizz and was able to protect that lead the rest of the way.
“I thought our guys played really hard,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 4-9 in the KCAC and 8-17 overall. “Overall defensively we did a good job. We just didn’t score. We missed a lot of easy baskets... we just missed point-blank shots.”
A lot of that had to do with 6-8 Jonathan Gibson and 6-7 Andrew Thomas forcing the Bulldogs to alter their shots inside. Mac missed no less than 10 shots from inside 3 feet as it was somewhat intimidated by the athletic duo that hails from Granada.
“It was a physical game, but they’re always physical games,” said Swartzendruber, whose team took only eight free throws despite several contested shot attempts inside. “We just did not finish in the paint very well.”
DeAndre Henson led Mac with 13 points, while Darius Hill and TJ Grant were in doubles with 11. Derek Bevan didn’t score, but came up with four blocks and three steals.
Lance Carter, whose return to the lineup might be the “X” factor as he missed 18 games due a disciplinary issue, led Tabor with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas and Dewayne Biggs scored 10 apiece.
Mac is home Saturday night to play Sterling. It’s “Think Pink Night” and all Mac fans are urged to wear pink. Special activities are planned. Game time is 7 p.m.
Mac (56) — Hill 11, Henson 13, Grant 11, Crook 6, Lakin 4, Beeler 2, Parker 9.
Tabor (67) — Carter 14, Jeneak 6, Nemit 3, Arck 3, Brooks 8, Thomas 12, Biggs 10, LeBlanc 2, Baker 3, Gibson 6.
• TABOR WOMEN 67, MAC 46 — It was a familiar story for the Mac women.
They played 18 solid first-half minutes, but then a 7-0 Tabor run to close out the half opened up an 11-point lead, 30-19. Then it didn’t take long for the Bluejays to bump it up to 20 in the second half and that sent the Bulldogs to 3-10 in the KCAC, 4-21 overall.
“We had a major meltdown there in the last 2 minutes of the half,” Mac coach Gordon Reimer said. “We were playing it where we needed to. I looked up at the clock and they had scored only 20 points. And that’s what we needed to do is keep it in a low-scoring game because we have struggled all year to score points... we just made some mental lapses and suddenly the game got broken open.”
Sunny Smart scored 15 points for Mac, 13 in the second half. Bailey Brown, the KCAC’s leading scorer, was held to six.
Tonisha Dean showed why she may be the most talented player in the KCAC with 26 points. Taylor Hurd came off the bench for 12.
Mac is home Saturday to take on Sterling. Game time is 5 p.m. at the Sport Center.
Mac (46) — G. Smart 6, Abra 3, Brown 6, S. Smart 15, Jefferson 2, Acklin 5, Atkins 3, Demerat 6.
Tabor (67)— Dean 26, Loewen 7, Short 4, Zuercher 3, Troxell 5, Maxwell 4, Hurd 12, Wilgers 3, Dick 1, Janzen 2.