The Ichabods barely escaped out of St. Charles, Mo., with a win against a feisty Lindenwood squad.
After jumping out to a 15 point lead with 7:27 left to go in the ballgame, the 24-ranked Bods (12-4, 5-3 MIAA) struggled to put away a tough Lindenwood team. Multiple missed shots by Washburn late in the game left the door wide open for the Lions to climb back into the game.
The Lions got back within four after a Will McNeill foul put Alex Bazzell on the line. Bazzell knocked down both free throws as Lindenwood (12-5, 5-4 MIAA) looked to be in good position to take the lead back. But the Ichabods responded and pushed their lead back to six after sophomore forward Christian Ulsaker sank two key free throws. Bazzell would hit a trey as the clock ran down, but the shot was not enough as Washburn came away with a 66-63 win.
“It was another good road test for us to see if we could stay together and we passed it,” said McNeill.
The Bods go off to a quick start after sophomore guard Kyle Wiggins hit a three-pointer to start the game off, but things quickly went the other way. Washburn struggled to hit shots, shooting 2-7 from the field to start. Things got back on track after Washburn guard Leon Flowers hit a three-pointer and a two-point basket. Although those were the only two shots he hit all game, they came when the Bods needed some scoring.
“Leon played great again today,” said McNeill.”
McNeill, who came into the game almost averaging 20 points per game, led the Bods in scoring for the four straight game with 13 points. He also added on seven rebounds and five assists.
McNeill and the Ichabods regained the lead from the Lions with 5:48 to go in the first half and never trailed for the rest of the game.
“Coaches have been stressing defense all week and Lindenwood is a great basketball team,” said McNeill. “They average 80 points and we held them to 63.”
Washburn did a good job of limiting offensive rebounds and second chance points. Lindenwood only had 13 offensive boards and managed to only score eight second chance points to WU’s 18. The Ichabods also pestered the Lions on the perimeter, forcing Lindenwood to shoot 1-9 from behind the arc. The Bods scored 26 points in the paint, thanks to solid play from senior forward Joesph Smith. Smith shot 5-9 from the field on the way to scoring 12 points. He also brought down six rebounds.
“It was great to see our bench get involved,” said McNeill. “Joesph Smith has been really aggressive these last few games and we need that.”
Washburn’s bench outscored Lindenwood’s 23-8 behind Smith’s 12 points, Flowers’ five and Ulsaker’s six. After a tough three game road stretch, Washburn will be back in Lee Arena Thursday to take on Missouri Southern State Univeristy.