Lewis’ shot stings Hornets as men’s basketball wins 68-65


Jesse Bruner

Washburn guard Jalen Lewis (20) is celebrated after the game Saturday Jan. 22, 2022, at Lee Arena in Topeka, Kansas. Lewis hit the game winning three pointer as time expired.

​​Washburn men’s basketball faced off with Emporia State Jan. 22 for the 215th time in program history. The 10-7 Ichabods entered winning four of the last five games, but dropping the most recent game, and would look for a little late game magic to avoid losing two in a row.

The beginning of the game was as back-and-forth as possible, with five lead changes in the first ten minutes and neither team up by more than four until the 10:06 mark.

Most of Washburn’s offense came on three possessions that resulted in three straight triples. The first coming from sophomore guard Connor Deffebaugh and the last two from senior guard Tyler Geiman.

Inside the nine-minute mark the Ichabods defense ramped up, allowing only two points over a five-minute stretch. In that time the lead grew to 10 points after a third three-pointer from Geiman.

“I thought our defense was as good as it has been all year. We were really locked in, challenged everything and competed. They got a really tough offensive team. They are tough to guard and I thought our guys were just relentless with our effort,” said head coach Brett Ballard.

The lead remained at or above 10 points until just before the halftime horn when Emporia State senior Jumah’Ri Turner hit a three-pointer for three of his 16 first half points to make it a 35-28 game at the break.

Washburn slowly saw the first half lead they had built shrink to begin the second half as they managed only four points in the first six minutes. The three-pointer by the Hornets at the 12:52 mark would make it a tie game at 43.

Just under the 10-minute mark the Ichabods were able to have some success going inside to junior forward Jonny Clausing who scored twice in two minutes and drew two fouls as well to create a four-point advantage.

The lead went away just as quickly after seven straight points from Turner on the other end, putting Emporia State in the lead. Just like the first half, Washburn quickly battled back and regained the lead as the game moved inside of the five-minute mark.

The final five minutes of play featured displays of tough shot-making from both sides as the lead traded hands nearly each time down the court. In that time freshman guard Michael Keegan knocked down a corner three-pointer and converted an up-and-under layup, giving the Ichabods the lead each time.

With under two minutes to go, Geiman took the reins of Washburn’s offense, hitting a jump shot to give them a 64-63 lead. The next Hornets possession was an empty one, allowing Geiman to run the clock down before getting fouled with 26 seconds left.

Geiman knocked down one of two attempts leaving a door open for the Hornets to win. They did not take the lead but were able to tie after a layup from senior Tray Buchanan with 13 seconds.

Wasting no time, Geiman took the ball down court into the paint before getting held up. He kicked it out to junior guard Jalen Lewis, who took one dribble left and released his shot with .1 seconds left. With one motion he sunk the shot and Emporia State, giving the Ichabods a 68-65 win.

“(I) just trust in the work that I put in, and trust that my teammates are going to find me,” Lewis said. “Just to see their reaction, we try to play hard for the fans and all the city of Topeka. So, to do that at home against a rival is huge.”

The win builds more confidence between the coaches and players as the team hits its stride.

“I trust our guys and you know Geiman was trying to make a play. The kid played good defense on him and luckily at the last second was kind of forced to kick it out and he found his guy, and those two guys have made some big plays over the course of their time here so it’s great to see J-Lew make that shot,” Ballard said.

Geiman led the way scoring with 18 points to go along with eight assists and nine rebounds. Clausing and Keegan were in double figures with 12 and 10 respectively while Lewis had 11 including the biggest shot of the night.

The win moved Washburn to 11-7 on the year and 8-4 in MIAA play along with it being the fifth win in the last six games.

“I think we have grown. We went through a lot of adversity earlier, and this last month these guys have been terrific,” Ballard said. “They got a really good team, so it was a good win for us, a rivalry win, so those are always a little bit sweeter.”

The Ichabods will stay at home next week when they welcome Newman University to Lee Arena Jan. 26.

Edited by Ellie Walker, Katrina Johnson