VIDEO: McNeill scores 1,000th point in win

Team on his Back Junior guard Will McNeill became one of only 21 players in Washburn history to score 1,000 points in a career Saturday against Pittsburg State. He scored 14 as Washburn beat PSU, 81-63.

After having held the line at home for the last three games Washburn took to the road for the first time in two weeks before returning home with mixed results.

Heading to Joplin, Mo., to face Missouri Southern State University, the Ichabods looked to make up ground on conference leader Northwest Missouri State University.

In senior center Keane Thomann, current conference leading scorer, the Lions would prove a hard team to overcome. Between Thomann’s play and a lack of scoring from the Bods’ top scorer, junior guard Will McNeill, Wednesday turned out to be a long evening for the Ichabods.

“I got outcoached in that game,” said Washburn Head Coach Bob Chipman. “I’ve got to make better calls for the guys.”

McNeill, who averages 19.8 points per contest, had shot more than 50 percent during the previous three-game home stand. The speedy guard had an atypical night, shooting just 3-for-20 on the night. Despite the rough evening from the floor, McNeill was able to get to the free throw line, shooting 7-for-8 from the charity stripe. He finished with 13 points on the game.

With McNeill struggling, other players took up the offensive mantle. Sophomore guard Jeff Reid paced WU scorers with 20 points. Just more than half of Reid’s points came from downtown, hitting 4-for-6 from three-point range.

“They were helping off of [junior guard Martin] Mitchell,” said Reid. “I knew I needed to hit some of those shots they were giving me.”

With a dominant performance on the boards by junior forward Bobby Chipman, who finished the game with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, Washburn opened up a lead midway through the second half. With WU leading by as much as 13 points, the Lions turned to their man in the middle.

Held to just four points and three rebounds in the first half, Thomann exploded in the second half, and finished the game with 22 points and six rebounds. The 6-foot-11 center played the entire 40 minutes.

“We did get a little tired in the game,” said Bob Chipman. “They played a physical game and we were just a little weak at the end.”

Despite dominating on the glass 38-28, Washburn’s rough shooting night was capped with a missed jumper at the end of regulation. The overtime period would be no picnic, either, as the Ichabods finished the extra frame 3-for-9 from the floor as MSSU won 85-79.

After the brief run across the border, the team returned for a battle against Pittsburg State University. The Gorillas came into Lee Arena with a middle-of-the-pack placement in the MIAA standings.

McNeill, coming off a rough shooting night the previous game, continued to fire with little effect in the opening stanza. He went 1-for-4 from the field in the first half, but finished 5-for-12 for 14 points.

With their catalyst seemingly out of sorts, Washburn’s ensemble performance from the previous night continued. Mitchell started off the game quietly with just two points in the first half before erupting in the second half for a team-high 16 points overall. While shooting 7-for-8 from the floor for the game, the steady hand at the point provided the spark the team needed.

“It was probably the best game Martin has played for us,” said Coach Chipman.

After performing well the previous game, Bobby Chipman stepped back into the fray with strong play under the goal. Drawing charges during key phases of the game, the 6-foot-8 forward battled under the goal, putting in 13 points while ripping down six rebounds.

“We just knew we had to get ready for them,” said Bobby Chipman. “They pushed us around a little last time we played, so we were looking for that.”

Despite a less than extraordinary shooting night, McNeill still managed to get a strong ovation from the crowd. Midway through the second half, with PSU on a 7-0 run, the usually potent guard pulled up for a big shot, halting the turning tide. With the shot came an honor only earned by 20 other players in the history of Washburn University, as McNeill scored his 1,000th point as Washburn defeated Pittsburg State 81-63.

The next target of Ichabod wrath will be historic-rival Emporia State University. This will be the 198th meeting between the two teams—a series that dates back to the 1905-06 season, the first recorded in Washburn history. The 197th edition of the “Turnpike Tussle” was played Jan. 14 in Lee Arena. The Ichabods took down the Hornets in a 67-48 win.

The Hornets own a 5-13 record in the MIAA and are 9-15 overall. Led by senior guard Tola Lawal, who averages 13.1 points per game, ESU has lost nine of its last 10 games and currently hold the eighth and final spot in the conference playoff tournament field, meaning the Hornets will play for their postseason future.

Tipoff is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at White Auditorium in Emporia, Kan.