HILLSBORO — The Ottawa University men’s basketball team is not afraid of playing on the road during the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
Ottawa defeated Sterling last year in the first round of the KCAC tourney. Ottawa turned the trick again Friday with a 69-53 win over No. 2 seeded Tabor. It snapped Ottawa’s nine-game skid to the Bluejays. The last win came in the 2009 KCAC tourney when Ottawa won three road games en route to the KCAC championship.
The Braves (10-19) advanced to the semifinals 5 p.m. today at the winner of Southwestern and Sterling. Ottawa evened its overall tournament mark against Tabor with three wins each.
Senior Corey Smith paced the Braves with 25 points. Julian Rose came off the bench to toss in 13 points. Kameron Lindsay had 11.
Ottawa took charge in the second half. Ottawa went on a 6-0 spurt to open a 45-35 lead with 12:35 remaining. Ottawa put the hammer down with a 15-2 run to go from a 50-41 lead to a commanding 65-43 lead with 3:19 left in the game.
It was a twist of fortunes. Seventh-seeded Ottawa entered the postseason with a 1-7 mark the past eight games, while Tabor closed with a seven-game winning streak.
Ottawa had several close losses throughout the season, while Tabor came up with wins in those type of games, including an overtime thriller over the Braves in Ottawa.