Ichabods lose in first round of the MIAA tournament

No. 8 seed Washburn (17-10, 10-10 MIAA) clashed with No. 9 seed Northeastern State (15-12, 10-10 MIAA) last night, March 4, both fighting to keep their seasons alive and vying for the opportunity to face off against top-seeded Central Missouri, March 7, in Kansas City, both teams came out of the gate hungry for a victory.

Northeastern State won the tip off, but Washburn drew first blood with a layup and free throw from junior guard Korey Fisher. Northeastern State quickly responded with a 3-point shot.

The pace of play was intense, both teams playing physical man-to-man defense. Both teams were hitting the large majority of their shots, including six shots from beyond the arc in the first four and a half minutes.

With 15:44 left to go in the first half, Washburn’s junior guard Jeff Reid hit a three to put the Ichabods on top 15-13, but those would be the last points for the Bods for over four minutes. During this dry spell, Northeastern State went on a 12-0 run to boost themselves to the top.

By the time the second media timeout was called at the 11:22 mark, the scoreboard displayed the Northeastern State Riverhawks on top, 25-17.

The Riverhawks continued their rampage, setting the score to 31-18 in their favor merely a minute after the game resumed from the timeout. It was Northeastern State’s turn, however, to suffer a scoring drought. Over the next two and a half minutes, Washburn closed the 13 point deficit to a five point disparity.

Washburn began to fall behind a bit, but a 3-pointer drained by junior guard Kyle Wiggins kept the Bods within five points as the first half came to a close at 38-45, Northeastern State. Wiggins finished the first half with an impressive 16 points.

A reinvigorated Washburn team started the second half with the ball. Both teams were still employing fierce man-to-man defenses. Northeastern State came out with a slower pace but was still successful in holding their own.

Both teams battled back and forth, but the lead remained just out of Washburn’s reach. The Bods slowly made progress, and with a fade away 18-footer by Reid as the shot clock expired, momentum shifted in Washburn’s favor. 

After the time out, Northeastern State made the inbound pass only to meet a full court press by the pumped up Washburn team. As the noise in Lee Arena picked up, Washburn fought harder and harder until Wiggins tied the game at the 13:24 mark in the second half. Three minutes later, freshman guard Andy Wilson gave the Bods their first lead since the 15:44 mark in the first half with a 2-pointer, making the score 58-57, Bods. The crowd was on its feet again.

By the time the 9:00 mark roled around, Washburn had extended their lead to 65-57. Over the next five minutes, Washburn scored only four points as opposed to the Riverhawks who scored 12. The result was a tied game at the 3:59 minute mark, each team with 69 points.

Half a minute later, Northeastern State retook the lead and despite a tremendous effort, the Ichabods were unable to come back. The game ended with a final score of 75-79, Northeastern State.

This loss concluded the Bods’ sason. A lot of effort went into preparing for this game, but not enough elements fell into place for the Ichabods. One of the main aspects that troubled Washburn was Northeastern State’s senior guard, No. 3 Bryton Hobbs.  

“Number three is their main guy. They run their offense through him,” said Reid. “Our main focus was to maintain him and keep the ball out of his hand. . .We did good at it at times, but other times it wasn’t as good as we wanted to.”  

Despite the loss, Washburn men’s basketball has a bright future. Only one member on this year’s team is a senior.  

“This was a good year for us to build,” said Reid. After this building year, next year we should see the finished product.