Ottawa University and Tabor College is one of the best rivalries in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball.
The two teams play with high intensity nearly every meeting. It happened again Saturday in Wilson Field House.
Ottawa’s troubles in winning close games continues as Tabor nipped the Braves, 77-75, in overtime. Ottawa has lost eight of its past 10 games, which included two overtime games.
“It is unfortunate we could not find a way to win that one,” Ottawa coach Andy Carrier said. “It has been a tough go of it. This group deserves to win a close game. We have to keep fighting.”
Ottawa had the ball at the end of the four-minute overtime, but the Tabor defense collapsed on Stephen Feighny and the clock ran out.
“We did not get the ball inbounds on the last play to who we wanted to,” Carrier said. “We had [Chase] Dippel coming on [for a pass]. We could not get him the basketball.”
A week ago, Ottawa’s trey at the buzzer was just long in a 65-63 loss to McPherson.
“One of these nights somebody will make a play and momentum will swing back our direction,” Carrier said. “We are still together. Each game we are playing for each other a little more.”
The game had several momentum swings. The contest was tied eight times and had six lead changes.
“It was a good matchup,” Carrier said. “It was a pretty good small college basketball game.”
Tabor used a 17-6 spurt over an eight-minute span to open a 60-47 lead, which was the largest lead by any team.
“We lost a little bit of energy on the defensive end and they got a big lead on us,” Carrier said. “To our credit, we kept battling. We got the intensity back on the defensive end. We really executed. We got good shots and some guys finally stepped up and made some shots. It has been a few weeks since we had guys make shots.”
Ottawa battled back in the final five minutes of regulation outscoring Tabor 17-4 to send the game into overtime. Adam Hasty’s layup knotted the game at 64-64 with three seconds left in regulation.
Dippel led the rally by scoring 13 of his 23 points in the final five minutes.
“Teams are game planning for him,” Carrier said. “We have changed a few of our looks to find him some shots. The guys did a good job of screening for Dippel. We did a good job of looking for him.”
Tabor scored the winning bucket with three seconds left.
“It comes down to making winning plays,” Carrier said. “Tabor made one more winning play than we did.”
Hasty finished with 16 points. Corey Smith had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Feighny had 11 points and 16 rebounds.
“Corey and Feighny have done a good job on the boards all year long,” Carrier said. “If we can bottle up what we did and get Corey unlocked, we can possibly make a run.
“We have two weeks and four games left. We are knocking on the door. We need to regroup and be ready.”
Ottawa (8-15, 5-9) plays 8 p.m. Thursday at home against Bethel.
Tabor (77) — Sauer 13, Chippeaux 6, LeBlanc 6, Rust 7, Samuel 15, Nemit 13, Janzen 2, Jackson 5, Hopkinson 8, Butler 2.
Ottawa (75) — Smith 12, Lundry 2, Lindsay 6, Hasty 16, Dippel 23, Rose 5, Feighny 11.