Men’s basketball upsets Central Oklahoma, advances to MIAA Championship


Kyle Manthe

Senior guard Tyler Geiman celebrates after knocking down a 3-pointer Mar. 5, 2022. Geiman scored 17 points in the game.

Washburn men’s basketball knew they had to keep winning in the MIAA tournament in order to have a chance at making regionals.

They did just that, knocking off No. 1 seed Central Oklahoma 79-65 to advance to the MIAA championship game.

“I thought our defense was tremendous the entire game, that is a hard team to guard,” said head coach Brett Ballard. “To hold that team to 33% field goal shooting and out-rebound them by eight. I thought our guys did a great job locking in on the defensive end.”

The Ichabods used a hot-shooting night and strong defensive effort to move onto a second straight conference championship game against No. 2 Northwest Missouri State.

“We didn’t reach that goal that we wanted to in the regular season,” said senior Tyler Geiman. “We knew we had to come in here to win games and prove that we belong and that’s what we are doing and people are seeing what our team is all about.”

The win moved Washburn to 21-9 overall on the season, surpassing last season’s total.

“(We) have been in the MIAA championship game four out of my first five years here,” Ballard said. “I am proud of the work they have put in and hope that we can show up tomorrow and believe in ourselves … it’s a great opportunity.”

From the start, neither team could create any kind of separation from each other, with both teams playing sound defense.

The Ichabods did have success when the ball got inside to junior Jonny Clausing, who scored the teams’ first four points and eight in the half.

Central Oklahoma possessed a 14-9 lead nearly nine minutes into the game on the back of junior Callen Haydon’s eight early points.

From that point, Washburn went on a 5-0 run to tie and would eventually begin to build a lead. Inside-out play built a six-point lead with under five to play.

After a slow start offensively, Geiman took over the game, knocking down four 3-pointers in the final five minutes to lead by as many as 13.

“When you see one go it definitely helps. But I thought last night I got into the paint quite a bit and probably could have made more plays off of that,” Geiman said.

The Bronchos responded by ending the half on a 9-3 run to make it 39-32 at the break.
Central Oklahoma came out of halftime and continued to score, led by Haydon who scored 10 points in the first five minutes.

Five quick points for sophomore Connor Deffebaugh helped to stave off the run, but back-to-back baskets from Bronchos senior Isaiah Wade kept the game within six points.

Wade’s 10th point of the quarter, with just over 11 minutes to go, cut the lead to just three.

“I feel like I’m on cruise control right now, these guys are out there controlling things and taking ownership of what is going on the court,” Ballard said. “They just really don’t get rattled … they don’t flinch.”

The Ichabods got hot offensively with under ten minutes to play, knocking down three 3-pointers in a three-minute span. Freshman Michael Keegan, Deffebaugh and Geiman provided the points to pull back ahead by 12.

“I thought we would shoot like this most of the year, we really haven’t shot how we were capable of for a good majority of the year,” Ballard said. “We outscored them in points in the paint 26 to 18, and Jonny was a big part of that … he helps us playing inside-out, it opens some of those threes up.”

Lewis continued the hot shooting by knocking down two more 3-pointers before the five minute mark, putting Washburn up by a game-high 16.

From that point, the lead would never drop below 14, with Central Oklahoma pulling its starters with just more than a minute left as the Ichabods ultimately finished with a 79-65 win.

“It was a good win for us, that was a good team we just beat,” Ballard said. “I am proud of our guys for coming in here and getting a win versus a very good team.”

Clausing led Washburn with 18 points and added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Geiman had 17 points and a game-high seven assists. ‘

The Ichabods championship game against the Bearcats will tip off at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“It will be a great environment. I know our guys will be ready to take advantage of it and try to win back-to-back,” Ballard said.

Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Ellie Walker