It wouldn’t be surprising if the Ichabod basketball team woke up with the shrieks of a whistle still in their ears after Tuesday’s 83-67 loss to Central Oklahoma. In a game that included a total of 43 fouls and 30 turnovers, the Bods really never got into a rhythm against the Broncos. The Ichabods were led in scoring by junior transfers J.B. Murray who had 18 points and Rashad Adams who contributed with thirteen.
The Ichabods ran out to an early lead in the first half, but went into the locker room tied at 34 when Sam Belt knocked down a long three pointer for the Broncos shortly before the buzzer. The second half was a clinic conducted by the Broncos on how to turn long rebounds into easy lay-ups. The Bods who struggled with the zone tried shooting their way over it, but it simply lead to easy points for Central Oklahoma.
Quick shots coupled with some bad luck with the bucket lead to a dismal 22.2 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc in the second half for the Ichabods. However, Belt for Central Oklahoma didn’t seem to have much of a problem from long distance shooting five for eight and contributing 17 points.
Those coupled with Broncos’ leading scorer Joe Kennerly who had 21 points proved too much for the Bods. Despite cutting the lead to eight points with over five minutes to go, the Bods never could get over the hump.
The bright side for the Ichabods was the return of junior forward Kyle Snyder. Snyder who was thought to be done for the season with a recurring shoulder injury, came in during the first substitutions of the first half to help provide a spark to the Washburn team. Snyder provided a spark for the crowd, but showed some signs of rust on the court. Despite this, he was able to provide a couple of assists and some much needed depth in the frontcourt for the Bods.
Perhaps overshadowed by Snyder’s return was the play of guard Murray in the second half. Murray scored on six straight possessions for the Bods and was the main reason the Bods were able to chip away at the deficit in the second half. Murray’s play, coupled with Milburn’s leadership, should help provide a potent backcourt for the Bods heading into conference play. Milburn’s leadership isn’t going unnoticed by teammate Murray.
“I try to work off Kris. When he’s playing well and is confident, he makes me confident. I’m playing better and harder because Kris is,” said Murray.
Milburn, Murray and Adams appear to be the key players for the Bods at the moment. The return of Snyder, and forward Brady Sisk should help provide more depth for the Bods and could help balance the Ichabod attack. Sisk, who contributed seven points, also led the Bods with nine rebounds and has returned from a calf injury that kept him out in the early part of the season.
Thursday’s game against the Jets of Newman proved true that the early bird really does get the worm.
After Tuesday’s lopsided loss to Central Oklahoma, head coach Bob Chipman based Thursday’s starting lineup by choosing the first five players who showed up to practice Wednesday. Freshmen Ryan Highfill and Moriba DeCoteau along with junor Kyle Fisher all had their first start of the season against the Jets, while senior Kris Milburn and freshman Paul Byers each started their seventh game of the season.
However, they were quickly replaced after the Ichabods fell 5-2 in the first couple of minutes of the first half. Usual starters Murray and Rashad Adams along with sophomore Brady Sisk came in and put the Bods out in front for good.
Coupled with shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc and a 12 advantage on points from turnovers, the Ichabods beat Newman 88-68. The Bods were lead by Adams who scored 16 points and added five rebounds in the winning effort.
“Coach made sure we got going tonight. After Tuesday night’s [speech] and Wednesday’s practice, there was no doubt we were going to play hard tonight. We moved the ball well tonight and our defense was extremely intense. We had to play well tonight or practice would’ve been crazy this week,” said Adams.
The intensity of the Bods’ defense was reflective in the pace of the game early on. At times the game seemed like a track meet with both teams running the transition game often off of steals or long rebounds and led to the first significant test of the Bods’ conditioning.
“Our conditioning is starting to get better. Coach is subbing more now which helps, and then with Kyle [Snyder] back, he takes care of the dirty work in there. We got the pressure on their guards and were able to bring some intensity tonight,” said Murray regarding the Bods’ early struggles with conditioning.
The Bods who struggled mightily with Central Oklahoma’s zone Tuesday night were able to practice running plays against the Jets’ zone and it yielded better results.
The Bods now get ready to face MIAA foe Central Missouri State who is currently No. 10 in the NABC-DII poll. Milburn realizes the importance of an early conference game and will make sure the team is ready to go Dec. 10 when the Mules visit Lee Arena at 7:30 .p.m.
“We are starting to come together and we need to come together. We have to keep talking, get together outside of the gym, just become a family. We are going to have to play together and play with the intensity we had tonight if we want to win,” said Milburn.