Bods drop pair of games behind poor shooting effort

Mamadou Sy, junior forward, guards Matt Habermehl, Missouri Southern senior forward. Missouri Southern led the entire game ending in a 79-70 loss for the Ichabods.

Matt Resnick

The struggles continue for the Washburn men’s basketball team. After defeating Missouri Western in their previous game, the Ichabods failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since last February, losing at home to the Missouri Southern Lions 79-70, last Thursday night. The Ichabods shot only 24 percent from the field in the first half, on 7-29 shooting, and trailed 38-26 at halftime.

“We couldn’t hit anything in the first half,” said Bob Chipman, Washburn men’s head basketball coach. “I thought we were getting good looks around the basket as well as wide-open jump shots, but just couldn’t convert, nothing went down. Obviously, we lost our confidence a little bit, when you have a half like that, you don’t really want to shoot it.”

One bright spot for the Ichabods in the loss was the play of senior forward Frank Phifer. Coming off the bench, Phifer scored 12 points and set a school record for blocked shots with seven, while also grabbing nine rebounds. Reid Hein, Washburn junior guard, also scored 12 points, hitting four 3-pointers. The Ichabods shot only 35 percent from the field for the game.

” I think it all comes down to shooting right now,” said Paul Byers, Washburn sophomore forward. “We missed countless layups, probably around eight or nine that rolled off the front of the rim. Our shooters didn’t knock down shots, which is the main thing we need to improve on to get back on track.”

The Ichabods then traveled to play Pittsburg State two nights later, falling 72-61. The loss dropped the Ichabods’ record to 7-14, and 3-9 in the MIAA.

Poor shooting continued for Washburn as they managed to connect on only five field goals during the entire first half, as they trailed 36-23 at halftime. Washburn was also out rebounded by the Gorillas 48-26 for the game.

“As far as our team from an offensive standpoint, it’s pretty late in the year to change anything,” said Chipman. “I think we just have to do a better job of making the high percentage shots. I have to keep believing in the guys I’ve been playing, and hope things turn around.”

The Gorillas led by as many as 15 points before eventually winning by 11. Phifer had a big offensive night scoring 25 points on 8-13 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds. Andrew Meile, Washburn junior guard, added 14 points.

This is the first time Washburn has been swept in the regular season by the Gorillas since the 1998-99 season.

Washburn will next travel to face Southwest Baptist University at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 in Bolivar, Mo. Washburn will then face Truman at home, with the game set to start at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10.