After building win streak to three, Bods lose game, spot in standings at Fort Hays

Senior forward Darnell Kimble soared in for a dunk against Truman State. After beating the MIAA’s worst team, the Bods struggled in a game at Fort Hays.

Sheldon Warmington

Prior to Saturday night’s contest against Fort Hays State, the Washburn men’s basketball team was ranked third in the MIAA standings, much to the surprise of their critics.

The ranking came on the heels of a 3-game win streak that the Bods put together as they made short work of the Truman State Bulldogs on Wednesday in Lee Arena, and Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri State the week before.

Truman State has been at the bottom of the MIAA standings since the season began, with a 1-14 conference record, but the 68-50 win gave Washburn their longest winning streak since mid-December.

“Despite the ranking Truman is still a very good team,” said junior Moriba DeCoteau. “The MIAA is so strong that any team can beat any other team on any given night.”

At the start of the game, Washburn struggled to hold a lead against the Bulldogs, but began to show separation late in the second half because of hard-nosed defense and heightened efficiency on the offensive end of the floor. DeAndre Eggins led the Ichabod scoring campaign with 13 points, followed by Covier Carter with 10 points and Darnell Kimble, who recorded his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

However, Saturday night’s trip to Fort Hays put an end to the Bods’ short-lived stay in the MIAA’s top three.

Fort Hays, who replaced Washburn for third in the MIAA standings after the win, was too much for the Ichabods to handle as they suffered an 8-point loss in a fairly even-matched contest. The Ichabods were down for most of the game, but in usual Washburn form, came back in the second stanza to present a challenge to the Tigers.

At the end of the first half, Washburn was down 29-25. They entered the second half hoping to return to the style of play that resulted in three straight wins, but Fort Hays had other plans.

The second half was similar to the first, as the Tigers answered every attack that the Ichabods tried to put together.

Consequently, Fort Hays won the game 68-60, dropping Washburn’s record to 9-6 in conference and 13-9 overall. Eggins led the team in scoring with 15 points, followed by Williams with 10. Byers and Stutz followed with nine points apiece.

“We just didn’t come out tough enough, even though we knew what we had to do,” said senior Darnell Kimble. “It’s like we wanted to just walk through Fort Hays.”

Despite Washburn’s drop to fifth in the standings, Kimble seems confident about the season’s last five games.

“If we finish out the conference strong then we have a chance to finish in the top three,” said Kimble. “And even though we lost a true point guard in Mario, James and Covier have done a great job and can lead us to the five wins we need.”

Washburn’s next test comes Feb. 11 when they take on Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. for what looks to be another evenly-contested matchup.

The Mules are ranked first in the South Central region and No. 12 nationally.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Bods after that, as they travel to Southwest Baptist for a game against the conference leaders on Valentine’s Day.