Bods lose in second round

Luke Warnken / Washburn Review

In front of a packed house at D.L. Ligon Coliseum, Midwestern State University was able to muster up enough energy to stop a second half rally by the Washburn Ichabods. The matchup between the No. 1-seeded and high-flying Mustangs and the sharp shooting No. 4-seeded Ichabods was worthy of attendance.

The self proclaimed “Lob City of the Lone Star Conference” got out and running early with a three pointer by guard Michael Loyd and a big time dunk by forward Darrick Thomas. The stands erupted after the dunk as the Mustangs took a 5-0 lead.

“Unbelievable crowd support for their basketball team here at Midwestern State University,” said Washburn men’s head basketball coach Bob Chipman.

The ultra-athletic MSU squad and their crowd provided an intimidating atmosphere, but the Bods were able to overcome early jitters. Forwards Joseph Smith and

Alex North provided some instant success from the bench as Washburn cut down the Mustang lead to three. Back up point guard Jared Henry scored back-to-back buckets to give Washburn its first lead at the 10:38 mark in the first half.

MSU was not deterred as they stretched their lead back to seven as halftime closed in. Junior guard Martin Mitchell sank a three-pointer to bring the score to 33-29 at break.

After only coughing up the ball three times Saturday night, Washburn turned it over seven times in the first half against MSU.

“They take a lot of pride in playing hard,” said Chipman. “Their defense and their crowd I thought had us out of pace most of the night.”

The Bods still managed to shoot 48 percent from the field and hung with the taller Mustangs on the boards in the first period.

Sophomore guard Jeff Reid tied the game up at 34 two minutes into the second half. Reid finished with five points but spent much of the night on the bench in foul trouble.

Despite having one of their best perimeter shooters sitting on the sidelines, Washburn still shot 44 percent from behind the arc in the second half. Washburn was able to cut the lead down to one at the 6:07 mark as junior guard Will McNeill hit 1-2 from the free throw line. McNeill who has made a living from the charity stripe this year only attempted two the entire game. The Mustangs constantly changed defenders, bodying McNeill at all times.

“It’s frustrating. It’s a physical game,” said McNeill. “I wasn’t coming in expecting them to give me any calls.”

The officials kept the game tight in the first half but seemed to let things get a little more chippy in the second half. MSU used it to their advantage, wreaking havoc on the boards.

“They go after the boards,” said Chipman. “They really are tenacious.”

The Mustangs only won the battle of the boards by seven, but a crucial 14 of their 36 rebounds came on the offensive end. Those rebounds lead to 36 points in the paint and 14 second chance opportunities, the defining stats of the game. MSU also got to the line 29 times compared to Washburn’s 10.

With their backs against the wall big man Bobby Chipman nailed a trey to bring the Ichabods back within four with 3:02 left in the game.

The Mustangs answered with an alley op dunk that silenced a Washburn comeback. Washburn was unable to body up the MSU big men who constantly got tip ins, offensive rebounds, and won the fifty-fifty balls.

“They got more loose balls than we did,” said McNeill.

The Bods were just not able to get the loose ball or hit the big shot when they needed it most in the second half as they succumbed to the hometown favorites 72-63.

“We turned it over 14 times, more than we normally do,” said Bob Chipman.

“We definitely got a lot of great offensive looks,” said McNeill. “Just wish we would have gotten it inside more.”

The MIAA tournament champions and regular season co-champions have no reason to hang their heads. Washburn finished with a stunning 25-8 record and return everybody next year.

“I wouldn’t trade them for anybody,” said Bob Chipman. “I love them all.”