Jan 09, 2022 2:38 AM

Missouri Western men fall behind early, take fourth straight loss at Washburn Saturday

Posted Jan 09, 2022 2:38 AM
Missouri Western's Justin Bubak (15) goes for three in the second half. Courtesy photo.
Missouri Western's Justin Bubak (15) goes for three in the second half. Courtesy photo.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

TOPEKA, KS -  The Missouri Western men's basketball team got behind early in the first half, and never recovered in a 76-64 loss at Washburn Saturday.

The Griffons (8-8, 4-4 MIAA) got off to a quick 5-0 start, but Washburn responded with a 14-2 run and eventually went up 25-14 with 7:19 to go in the first half.

The lead only grew for the Ichabods, as they went up 40-25 at halftime, thanks to a three-pointer by Jalen Lewis with just two seconds left before the buzzer.

Lewis had 20 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, and shot a blistering 6-of-12 from three.

"They did a really good job of penetrating and beating us one-on-one," Missouri Western coach Will Martin said. "Getting to the paint and making good reads. Jalen Lewis had a really good game. He only had five points in the second half, but we have to have that same type of intentionality the entire game."

The Griffons got down by as many as 19 within the first five minutes of the second half, but played better offensively down the stretch.

Western shot 48.4 in the second half and outscored the Ichabods 39-36 in the final 20 minutes, but were never really able to get back into it.

A three-pointer by Will Eames within the final two minutes made it a 73-64 ballgame with 1:22 remaining, but that's as close as the Griffons got.

"We have to execute," Martin said. "That's what I told the guys at the end. We talk so much about connectivity and staying together and this team has and they showed fortitude in that second half and didn't give up. But, now there comes a time where you just have to execute, man."

Western, which has now lost four in a row, was led in scoring by Q Mays, who had 23 points - the most points he's had in a game since Nov. 20 against Missouri-St. Louis. Mays also had eight rebounds.

Eames finished with 15 points and eight boards. Caleb Bennett had nine points to go with seven rebounds.

Turnovers were a problem for Missouri Western Saturday. The Griffons had 19 turnovers to just seven assists. The Ichabods, who have now won four of their last five games overall, finished with just seven turnovers to 17 assists.

"If you ask me, we haven't created an identity defensively," Martin said. "We've had games where we've shown up. We've had too many games where we haven't. I think is team is capable of being a really, really solid defensive team when you look at our roster and our length and our athleticism."

Missouri Western returns home Thursday to begin a three-game homestand. The Griffons will host Nebraska-Kearney in a men's and women's doubleheader. The women's game will tip at 5:30 and the men will follow at 7:30.

Both games will be carried on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3).

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.