Wednesday’s game between Washburn and Missouri Western saw transfer forward Dylan Channel score a career high 27 points. The Griffons, who shot 56 percent from the field in the first half, created a 22-point margin and headed into the locker room with an 18-point lead.
The Ichabods played an inspired second half and cut the lead down to five, only to see Western put it out of reach. The Bods lost 75-71 despite Channel and forward Brady Sisk combining for 49 points.
Coaches preach to their players that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. The Ichabods (8-11, 2-7) helped prove that mantra to be true Saturday. A hot start couldn’t help the Bods as they dropped an 81-72 decision to MIAA foe Truman State (16-4, 6-3). Senior guard Kris Milburn explained the Bods’ intensity in the first half.
“Coach told us to play as hard as possible. He wanted us to keep our heads up and realize we’re making strides as a team,” said Milburn.
The Bods started the game with a 7-0 spurt that forced the Bulldogs to call a timeout just 90 seconds into the game. It took twice as long for Truman to knock down a shot. Despite the hot shooting from the Ichabods and leading scorer Sisk, Truman did enough in the first half to stick around and keep it close heading into the second half.
Sisk dominated the paint in the first half scoring 16 of his 24 points. With six minutes left in the first half, the Bods were shooting 60 percent from the field and cooled down to a respectable 50 percent by halftime. The Bods headed to the locker room with a 43-38 lead that could have been even larger. Truman went on a 16-8 run to whittle the lead to five shortly before half.
However, the hot shooting from the Bods morphed into hot shooting for Milburn and no one else. Shooting just 8-21 in the second half, Milburn had five of those field goals. Unfortunately for the Ichabods, Truman was able to maintain their shooting touch and finished over 48 percent from the field. The Bulldogs had five players score in double digits, while the Bods only managed three.
Milburn, the lone playing senior on the team, carried the team in the second half. Driving through the lane to draw a foul, or draining a jumper with the hand in his face, the Houston native tried his hardest to keep the Bods in the game.
“I knew we needed to step up so I kept calling for the ball,” said Milburn. “I wanted the ball and I got it, and I started knocking down some shots and creating some opportunities.”
The second half saw an increase in tough play which resulted in 31 combined fouls, and both teams in the bonus halfway through the half, along with Milburn drawing a technical near the end of the game.
Halfway through the conference schedule the Bods are staring at a daunting task if they wish to make it to the postseason. Coach Chipman has never had a losing season, and the Ichabods must win four of their last eight to keep that streak intact. The Bods continue with games against Missouri Western at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 and Missouri Southern at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4, both at Lee Arena.
Junior forward Rashad Adams summed up the Bods’ goal heading into this critical stretch.
“We need to make a push and not give up. Our goal is to get to the playoffs, get that last spot, and go from there,” said Rashad. “We’ve got to play harder and run this offense to perfection.”