Bods come out of break bittersweet

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

Constantly working is a mantra used in sports. Road warrior is another that is heard often.

Both of these statements ring true when talking about the Ichabods basketball team over the break.

Since students left, Washburn’s mens basketball team has been busy. With six games on the slate the team spent the break competing and growing.

“We worked hard in practice every day,” said Bob Chipman, head coach. “We had a lot of guys really compete hard and we just came together as a team to get better.”

With impressive wins against the opening slate of the MIAA conference schedule, the team seems to have solidified themselves at home. Averaging a roughly 20 points per game margin of victory at home, the Ichabods defended Lee Arena, making it a tough place for teams to get anything going.

“Our league is a very competitive group of teams,” said Chipman. “Every night you have to play well. You can’t just stumble around the court and expect to win.”

This proved true in the road half of the six game stretch in which the team went 1-2. The two losses came against Southwest Baptist University ( 3-6, 10-8) and Pittsburg State University ( 6-4, 10-6). Both games were tightly called games as Washburn was called for a combined 52 fouls in the games. A resulting disparity in free throw shooting combined with the Ichabods struggling themselves from the charity stripe were too much for the team to overcome in both games. The one win however came against the University of Central Missouri by eight points.

The win came on the efforts of a hot shooting offense as Washburn shot 50.9 percent from the floor and 45 percent from beyond the arc. The Mules currently are in a three-way tie with Washburn for second place in the conference standings.

“Getting that win on the road was big for us,” said Chipman. “That keeps us right there in the hunt for a conference title.”

With standout performances over the break by junior guard Will McNeill, who is currently averaging 19 points per game, the team has also started to turn to a few other players who are stepping up their roles on the team.

“[Sophomore guard] Jared Henry and [freshman forward] Christian Ulsaker have really stepped up their game in practice,” said Chipman. “I’m old school that way. I think that if you work hard in getting yourself ready that you earn that time on the court. So those guys are really starting to step up and give us a lot of quality minutes.”

Washburn will be in action again at Lincoln University of Missouri Wednesday. The Ichabods have dominated the matchup historically having won 20 games in a row en route to a 20-3 all time record against the Blue Tigers.