An inauspicious start to 2018 has Ottawa looking for a win to get back on track.
After winning six straight to close out 2017, the Ottawa University men’s basketball team has lost its first two games of the new year by a total of seven points. They are set to host Friends University (8-9, 6-4 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) 8 p.m. Wednesday at OU’s Wilson Field House. The Falcons are tied with the Braves in the conference standings.
Friends has had an inconsistent season, and is coming off an 84-71 loss Saturday at No. 8 Southwestern College in Winfield.
Ottawa fell to Southwestern last Wednesday 84-81, marking the first of two close losses in one week. The Braves dropped a 76-72 contest Saturday at home to Tabor College.
OU looked poised to run away with its game against Tabor. It led by as many as 17 points (32-15) in the first half, and went into the locker rooms at halftime up 39-27.
Led by senior guard Julian Winton, the Blue Jays stormed back in the second half. Winton scored 13 points in a 24-9 run in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the half, cutting the lead to one.
Tabor continued to keep pace with the Braves, and a 16-2 run from the 7:41 mark to the 3:56 mark put the Blue Jays up 71-62.
Ottawa responded with a 10-0 run of its own to retake the lead. Tasmania Indaiana Jones, junior forward, made a basket with 56 seconds left to put OU up 72-71.
On Tabor’s ensuing possession, Diontre Cutliff missed a three-point shot, but Gaven Schumann was there to get the put-back with 34 seconds left. A three-pointer by Titus Rice, senior guard, went in and out with nine seconds left, and OU was forced to foul when Tabor’s Alan Urrutia grabbed the defensive board. Winton hit two free throws, and time ran out on the Braves when Hollis Mitchell, senior guard, turned the ball over with three seconds left.
The Braves out-rebounded Tabor 50-39, but suffered from 18 turnovers and cold shooting (26-74, 35.1 percent).
Winton led all scorers with 37 points, finishing 11-18 from the field and 13-16 from the free-throw line. Rice led OU with 16 points.
Tabor (76) — Winton 37, Beristain 11, Cutliff 10, Urrutia 5, Schumann 4, Patterson 4, Robinson 3 Arnold 2.
Ottawa (72) — Rice 16, Palmer 14, Jones 14, Perez 10, Greisen 7, Hansen 7, Mitchell 4.