HILLSBORO — McPherson College junior Aaron Bachura scored a game-high 18 points but the Bulldogs could not overcome a poor shooting night from behind the arc and a hot-shooting Tabor squad in an 85-71 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball loss to the Bluejays Saturday night.
McPherson shot 38.7 percent (29-of-75) from the field overall, but was just 2-of-21 (9.5 percent) from 3-point range. Tabor (2-4, 1-1 KCAC) hit just over 50 percent of its shots from the field using a mix of inside baskets and fadeaway jumpers.
The Bluejays jumped on the Bulldogs quickly, sprinting out to an 8-0 lead before Grant Raleigh hit a floater in the lane to get McPherson on the board. Tabor was eventually able to extend the lead to 15 at 24-9 on a 3-pointer by Isaiah Wilson with 12:05 to play in the first half. The Bulldogs scored the 11 of the next 13 points - including five by Careino Gurley — to cut the deficit to six points with 8:41 remaining. The run was capped by Jeffrey Oxford when he converted the and-one after being fouled on a successful layup. That would be as close as McPherson would get the rest of the half as Tabor finished the period on an 11-0 run over the final 4:19 to take a 52-32 lead at the break. The visitors' cause was not helped by 12 turnovers.
Tabor made the first basket of the second half to extend the lead to 22 points, but the Bulldogs battled back. McPherson chipped away at the lead over the next nine minutes, getting the lead down to 11 on an Oxford 3-pointer with 10:31 to play. The lead ballooned back to 19 as the Bluejays went on a 12-4 run over the next six minutes. The Bulldogs made one last rally, scoring nine in a row to make it a 10-point game with 1:09 remaining. Tabor made its free throws down the stretch to close out the game.
McPherson held a 45-39 edge in rebounds, including a 16-7 advantage on the offensive glass, but committed 17 turnovers.
Bachura's game-high total came on 8-of-23 shooting from the field. He was 0-of-10 from behind the arc, however. Gurley added 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a 3-pointer, while Garrett Owen had nine points and six rebounds and Raleigh had seven points, five rebounds and a pair of assists. Oxford, Stefan Krsmanovic, and Louis Parker III each had six points off the bench, with Krsmanovic adding a game-high 10 rebounds in just over 14 minutes on the court.
Three Bluejays finished in double figures, led by Julian Winton with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jon Manjon Beristain added 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Kyle Baker added 11 points off the bench. Alan Urrutia scored just two points, but had seven assists, seven steals and five rebounds. Isaiah Wilson had seven points, four rebounds and four blocks.
"Tabor did a great job of running the floor in transition and we knew they would," said head coach Tim Swartzendruber. "Give them credit. They were ready to play. We certainly have good shooters and they are due to shoot better."
The Bulldogs will look to regroup Tuesday night when they face county rival Bethany College (3-6, 0-2 KCAC). Tipoff from Hahn Gymnasium in Lindsborg is slated for 8 p.m.