Washburn wins first round of MIAA tournament over FHSU

Tyler Feist

The Washburn men’s basketball team hosted Fort Hays State in the opening round of the MIAA Tournament Monday at Lee Arena.

The 8-seeded Ichabods (15-15) were facing the nine-seeded Tigers (15-13) for the third time this season. In the first match up , Washburn won at home 69-58 and FHSU won the second game in Hays 87-79. But on Monday home court advantage prevailed once again and Washburn won 66-57.

Senior forward Alex North scored the first seven points for WU, who quickly pulled out to a 10 point lead in the first half. WU led by as much as 10 and seven points on two different occasions, but FHSU went on a couple runs and fought back to cut the lead to two both times. At the half, WU led FHSU 33-31.

WU shot 37 percent from the field and made 5-13 3-pointers in the first twenty minutes of the game. FHSU shot 44 percent and hit 2-5 threes. However, FHSU had seven first half turnovers compared to Washburn’s two.

FHSU would tie the game at 42-42 with fourteen minutes remaining in the second half. Then WU settled in and went on 13-1 run over the next six minutes and once again had a comfortable lead. This time FHSU could not recover and only came within seven points the rest of the game.

WU improved their shooting in the second half and finished with 44 percent field goal shooting. The Ichabods were also impressive at the free throw line where they went 19-23. The key for WU was their 21 points off the bench and their 20 points off FHSU’s turnovers. FHSU finished shooting 40 percent from the field and 29 percent from the 3-point line.

Alex North led Washburn in scoring with 18 points and also had 9 rebounds. Kyle Wiggins had 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Kevin House was held scoreless but recorded 6 assists.

WU improved to 16-15 on the year and will face the top-seeded Northwest Missouri State (22-5) in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Kansas City. The two teams faced off once this season on Jan. 10 at NMSU where WU won 70-64. The Bearcats finished the regular season on a 9 game winning streak and will be looking for revenge on the Ichabods.