Needing a conference win after losing four out of their last five games, the Washburn men’s basketball team surrendered a 15-point second half lead, bowing to the Southwest Baptist Bearcats last Wednesday night at Lee Arena.
“During the 19-1 run in the second half I should have had a better group in there, it’s my fault,” said Bob Chipman, Washburn men’s basketball head coach. “I didn’t have them ready against the press and should have used a different set. I needed to call about eight more timeouts, I only had one, but calling eight more would have helped. I needed to get a group out there that would have settled down and stopped the run.”
The Bearcats jumped out to a quick 13-5 lead, but Mamadou Sy, junior forward, put the Ichabods up 18-17 with a layup midway through the first half. Washburn extended the lead to 42-27 after Reid Hein, junior guard, connected on a 3-pointer. The Bearcats responded with a 9-2 run to close out the half cutting the Ichabods lead to 44-36.
The Ichabods opened the second half with a 6-0 run after Frank Phifer, senior forward, converted a 3-point play putting Washburn up 50-36 at the 18:35 mark. Washburn appeared to be in control during the second half when Hein hit his third 3-pointer of the night putting the Ichabods up 57-42 with 13:50 to play. However, Washburn committed numerous turnovers the rest of the way after the Bearcats turned up their full court defensive pressure. The Bearcats capped off a 19-1 run after Jim Grabowski, junior forward, made a layup off a turnover to put Southwest Baptist up 61-58 with 7:33 to play.
Grant Hargett, junior guard, put the Ichabods back up 64-63 after scoring on a knifing drive in the paint. Jared Young, Bearcat junior forward, hit a key 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining to give Southwest Baptist a 70-66 lead. Hargett momentarily kept Washburn in the game after hitting a 25-foot 3-pointer to cut the Bearcats lead to 72-69 with 20.9 seconds to play. Washburn was forced to foul the rest of the way eventually falling 76-69.
“During the second half when we were up 15 we had three straight turnovers that turned into six points, that was a huge swing,” said Hargett. “We got weak with the ball and started to throw it away, which definitely led to us losing the game.”
Washburn shot 45 percent from the field in the first half connecting on 18-40 shots, and making 8-of-15 3-pointers. A strong defensive effort by the Bearcats in the second half forced Washburn into shooting 22 percent from the field making only 7 of 31 attempts. The Bearcats shot 91 percent from the free throw line in the second half, making 11 of 12 free throws. Hargett led Washburn in scoring with 18 points while Kyle Snyder, junior forward, had 14 rebounds. The Bearcats had four players in double figures scoring led by Grabowski who scored 19 points.
“We’ve played too tentative at times this year, which is how we played with the game on the line tonight,” said Chipman. “Second halves this year have not been our friend – we’ve had a lot of poor second halves.”