The Washburn Ichabods (14-10, 10-9 MIAA) lost a 70-67 battle Wednesday night at Lee Arena as they had their two-game winning streak snapped by the Northeastern State RiverHawks (8-15, 7-12 MIAA).
The Ichabods held their opponents to less than 40 percent shooting for the second straight game but ultimately lost the free throw battle by nailing only eight of 15 shots compared to Northeastern State’s 29 of 40. It was an exciting match-up that ultimately came down to the last five minutes and the charity stripe.
“They just made more free throws,” said Washburn head coach Bob Chipman after the loss.
In a game which saw 15 lead changes, the Ichabods saw the first score of the game when Javion Blake sunk the first bucket making it 3-0. Washburn would lose the lead when Northeastern State took a seven-point scoring run and made it 7-5.
Randall Smith made it 8-7 sinking the Ichabods’ second three of the half.
Washburn would take an eight-point lead until NSU came back and made it 25-23 with 2:59 left in the first half. There was a back and forth battle to end the half as there were three more lead changes with Northeastern State taking the lead at half 29-27. For the second consecutive game, Washburn witnessed a late lead diminish before the half’s end.
The Ichabods came out aggressive to start the second half exploding on a 14-2 run. With baskets from five different players, they regained the lead 41-34 with 14:09 to play.
NSU fired back on a 9-0 run of their own for yet another lead change as the Ichabods went cold, making only one of their next five shots.
With 10:30 to go in the game the score was 45-44 Northeastern State. Blake stopped the bleeding for Washburn with a layup making it 46-45. However, NSU would ultimately take the final lead of the game after taking six straight trips to the free throw line in a 14-second span and turning a one-point Ichabod lead into a five-point RiverHawk lead 51-46.
A 7-4 run pushed Washburn closer, making it 53-55. Northeastern State would go up by six before a 3-pointer by WU’s Andy Wilson cut the RiverHawks’ lead to 59-56 with 4:30 left in the game.
NSU pushed the lead back to five with 17 seconds to play at 66-61, but a dunk on a 3-point play by Brady Skeens cut it back to two.
NSU went to the line and hit both free throws going up 68-64 with nine seconds left on the clock. Cameron Wiggins hit a clutch 3-pointer with five seconds to play, cutting the lead back to one at 68-67 before NSU hit two big free throws with two seconds remaining to seal a 70-67 win.
It was a matter of a couple defensive stops and a few costly turnovers that hurt Washburn’s chance of getting another run going.
“It just came down to defense we didn’t get enough stops,” said sophomore guard Smith, who also received player of the game, scoring 12 points, dishing six assists and five rebounds.
The Ichabods as a team committed 16 total turnovers, nine in the second half, leading to 21 points for the RiverHawks. NSU had nine total turnovers.
Washburn was led by Skeens who recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 13 points and 18 rebounds.
Four Ichabods were in double figures with eight total players scoring. Wiggins had 12 points and Blake finished with 10.
Washburn returns to action on Saturday hosting Central Oklahoma as the Ichabods will honor lone senior Christian Ulsaker prior to the start of the game.