Men’s basketball comeback stymied by buzzer-beater

After beating Fort Hays State 69-58, the Washburn men’s basketball team was headed to Emporia with some momentum. The Ichabods were hoping to get a meaningful road victory in their rivalry game against Emporia State.

Washburn got off to a very slow start and was held scoreless for the first five and a half minutes. However, Emporia State had about as good as a start as a team can have.

With under 10 minutes to go in the first half, ESU had a 22-4 lead. Washburn chipped away at the lead a little bit, but the momentum remained on ESU’s side at halftime. Going into the locker room, ESU had a 34-22 lead.

The Ichabod’s leading scorer, Alex North, had committed his third personal foul halfway through the first half.

The key to ESU’s hot start was their offensive rebounding. The Hornets had 8 second chance points, 11 offensive rebounds, and 20 points in the paint in the first half. ESU shot 41 percent from the field and 29 percent from behind the arc.

Washburn started the second half on a 7-0 run, but ESU answered with a 10-0 run of their own. The score was 44-29, Emporia State with 14 minutes remaining. But the Ichabods continued to chip away at the Hornets’ lead.

Algie Key was a pivotal factor that brought Washburn back into the game. He cut the lead down to five after hitting a 3-pointer with under three minutes remaining. After an ESU turnover, Key made two free throws to make the score 57-56, Hornets.

ESU made a couple free throws and Key made another free throw to make the score 59-57 with 20 seconds left.

Washburn fouled and put Emporia State’s Michael Harris at the free throw line for a one-and-one. Harris missed the free throw and Key took it all the way down the court and tied the game with a layup with 4 seconds left.

ESU threw the ball in quickly and Jay Temaat banked a 35 foot three pointer at the buzzer to win 62-59.

Washburn suffered a tough loss after an unlikely second half comeback. The difference in the end was free throw shooting. The Bods missed a couple late opportunities by not making their free throws down the stretch. Washburn finished just 17-26 from the free throw line and ESU made 14-18 of their free throws.

That loss made Washburn 11-13 overall and 6-7 in the MIAA.