Men’s basketball gets past Griffons after Lewis’ hot start


Kyle Manthe

Junior guard Jalen Lewis drives the ball towards the basket Jan. 8, 2022. Lewis scored 25 points in the game.

After a New Year’s Eve win over Central Missouri Washburn men’s basketball was set to open up its 2022 slate of games with a home matchup against Missouri Western Jan. 8. The Ichabods entered the game with a 7-6 record overall and looked to go two games up in the win column for the first time all year.

Early on for Washburn it was junior guard Jalen Lewis who scored the teams first eight points to take an early one point lead. The Ichabods got hot from outside, with four different players knocking down outside shots in the first ten minutes, creating a 19-11 advantage.

Washburn’s lead quickly grew to double digits after the second three pointer of the game from Lewis and freshman guard Michael Keegan, forcing a timeout by the Griffons at the 7:15 mark.
Down the stretch Lewis continued to stay hot, knocking down three straight three-pointers in the final two minutes, to give him 20 in the half and give the Ichabods a 40-25 advantage at the break.

“Guys got me in my spots and gave me confidence to shoot the ball so I just kept on shooting,” Lewis said. “When you have five guys out there that the defense kind of has to key in on it makes the game a whole lot easier for me.”

Washburn started the second half out hot, scoring 16 points in the first six minutes, with 11 coming from the duo of junior forward Jonny Clausing and sophomore guard Tyler Nelson, each playing in their second game of the season.

“It’s great to have those guys back, those two guys are really good players at both ends of the court. Offensively, they give us some more weapons,” said head coach Brett Ballard. “We are happy to have those guys back around.”

The offensive burst grew the lead to 20 points but was quickly cut down to 13 after a 7-0 run by Missouri Western. The Ichabods offense continued to slow down from its initial pace, but on defense they forced turnovers to stay safely ahead, as the Griffons accumulated 19 on the day.

Just under the five-minute mark a three-point play by Keegan and fast break layup by Lewis put the lead back up to 18 points.

Fouls by Washburn followed by a three point shot put Missouri Western down by just nine at the 1:18 mark but that is as close as they would come with the Ichabods finishing out the game at the free-throw line to take a 76-64 victory.

“We played well, the first 32 minutes of the game I thought we were terrific. The defense was good and the offense was cruising so that was fun to watch,” Ballard said.

Lewis led Washburn with 25 points, including six three-pointers. Keegan and Nelson joined him in double figures with 14 and 10 respectively. Senior guard Tyler Geiman did a little bit of everything, finishing with seven points, eight assists and six rebounds, both team-highs.

“We have won four out of five, we are still hanging around the top of the league in the standings, we are two possessions away from being on a six-game win streak,” Ballard said. “We are not that far away from where we need to be. At the same time, we still got work to do, and still got some things to clean up.”

The win moves the Ichabods to 8-6 on the season and 5-3 in MIAA play. Next up they will go on the road to face Missouri Southern Jan. 13.

Edited by: Alyssa Storm and Ellie Walker