Washburn’s rally falls short

Sheldon Warmington

Coming off a loss at Emporia State, the Washburn men’s basketball team once again fell short as they attempted to conquer Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks built a lead early and were up by 13 at halftime, but the Ichabods entered the second half with guns ablaze and erased the deficit before losing 93-88.

The game was a mismatch early as UNO took an 18-point lead less than 10 minutes in. From that point on, the Bods chipped away at the Maverick lead and found themselves up by two at the 6:29 mark, when DeAndre Eggins hit a layup and free throw for a 77-75 lead.

Despite 24 points from Eggins, the lead he helped build only lasted 27 seconds and UNO returned to their first half form to make sure the Bods would not make another comeback. Eggins was fouled shooting a three with 30 seconds remaining and sank all three to cut the lead to three points. With time running short the Bods were forced to foul, and UNO made their free throws to lock up the win.

While WU’s late game comeback showed heart, it was the early defensive mistakes that allowed UNO to take a big lead. UNO shot 58 percent from the field, the highest field goal percentage WU has allowed this season.

“We normally have problems with our offense and play pretty good defense,” said Eggins. “But last night we got it turned around. We struggled to stop them late in the game, the scoring was never the problem for us.”

Darnell Kimble, Lekheythan Malone and Paul Byers joined Eggins with double-digit scoring performances with 19, 17 and 13 respectively. The loss to UNO drops the Bods to 10-8 overall and 6-5 in the MIAA, putting them in a tie for fifth place in the standings with Missouri Southern.

The Mavericks pulled into a tie with Emporia State, one game ahead of he Bods in the standings. Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist are tied for the conference lead at 8-3.

“Southwest Baptist lost again Saturday so we didn’t lose any ground on them,” said sophomore guard Garrett Love. “Even after losing these last two, we’re still just a couple games back of the conference lead, so we feel like we still have a shot at competing for first.”

With the exception of Saturday’s first half, the Bods haven’t had much trouble putting points on the board. Eggins and Malone have had the biggest output offensively, with Eggins scoring 55 points in the last two games and Malone hitting double figures in six of the team’s last seven games.

The Bods conclude a three-game road trip on Wednesday with a chance to make up some ground on teams ahead of them in the MIAA at Northwest Missouri. On Saturday, WU returns home, where they are 8-1, to host Missouri Western.