Kearney, Neb. – Wayne State transfer Alexis McAfee made a backdoor layup with three tenths of a second remaining in overtime to lift Washburn to a62-60 win over Nebraska-Kearney Wednesday night in Topeka, Kan.
The Ichabods (11-4, 6-0) have won nine in a row to move into sole possession of first place in the MIAA while the Lopers fall to 10-6 (3-4) and to 2-3 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Both teams came in among the national leaders in scoring defense, allowing less than 59 points per game. Neither squad led by more than five points all night and there was an unprecedented 17 lead changes and 13 ties. UNK shot 50% (24 of 48) from the field against the stingy WU defense but also committed a season-high 26 turnovers and gave up 18 offensive rebounds. The ‘Bods won despite shooting 35% (25 of 69) from the field but sunk eight threes and tallied 15 points off those 26 Loper miscues.
A three from the top of the key by freshman Maegan Holt (Council Bluffs, Ia.) tied things up at 60 with 32 seconds left in the extra session. The ‘Bods tallied the first four points in overtime to grab a 60-56 lead but freshman reserve guard Aspen Jansa (Wahoo Bishop Neumann) went one of two at the free throw line with 2:03 left to start the comeback.
After Holt’s second triple of the night, Washburn called a timeout to advance the ball past half court. Star guard Reagan Phelan drove the lane with seconds remaining and was surrounded by the UNK defense. However, McAfee went back door from the right wing to tally the winner. The 5-9 guard and Kansas native finished with nine points, four assists and three steals. Phelan had a team-high 13 points as well as six dimes and five thefts.
“I feel for our kids. They competed and played hard and did everything they could at the very end but Washburn made a play,” said Loper assistant coach Devin Eighmey. “We do have some things to clean up. We didn’t value basketball at times … we had 26 turnovers and lost by two.”
The Lopers grabbed a 55-53 lead with 2:39 remaining in regulation after a layup by Crofton sophomore Kelsey Sanger. WU sunk about a minute later to regain the lead but Sanger went one of two at the line with 18 seconds left to knot things up once more. The ‘Bods had two chances to win in the final five seconds but two shots didn’t drop.
“Credit to them. They pressured us on the wing and got after us in the post in the second half,” said Eighmey. “To give that much effort and to lose by two in overtime on a back cut with three tenths of a second left is tough. We’ll learn from this and regroup.”
Four Loper starters reached double figures, led by Sanger and Elkhorn freshman post Brooke Carlson who had 16 apiece. They combined to go 12 of 22 from the field and also managed 13 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Next, Holt had 12 and four boards with South Dakota freshman guard Klaire Kirsch supplying 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Finally, Sanger, Holt and Kirsch each logged at least 40 minutes.
Besides Phelan and McAfee, Washburn got 12 points and three offensive caroms from Idaho State post transfer Nicole Murugarren and nine points in 17 minutes from Austin Peay State (Tenn.) transfer Shelbe Pggie.
UNK faces Emporia State on Sunday afternoon. The Hornets (12-4, 3-3) hit a three with 17 seconds left to hand No. 3 Fort Hays State its first loss of the year, 54-51.
Kearney, Neb. – Freshman reserve post Sevon Witt tallied a game-high 23 points in 20 minutes and the Washburn Ichabods got off to a fast start to beat Nebraska-Kearney, 89-58, Wednesday night in Topeka, Kan.
The Ichabods (12-3, 5-1) improve to 8-0 in Lee Arena while the Lopers fall to 5-11 (0-7).
UNK got a free throw from Bellevue junior forward AJ Jackson two minutes into the game to lead 1-0 but Washburn scored the next 12 points. The Lopers misfired on 11 of its first 12 shots as the ‘Bods opened up leads of 17-7 and 28-11. The teams combined to go just 1 of 17 from the three point line in the first half but WU tallied 28 points in the paint as well as 16 points off 11 Loper turnovers to lead 34-18 at the intermission.
A couple of threes from Iowa junior forward Kyle Juhl helped UNK hang around early in the second half but the ‘Bods went on a 13-6 run to open up a 58-38 lead with 8:54 to play. Fittingly, Witt capped things with two free throws. A 6-7, 220 freshman from Raytown, Mo., he came in averaging 7.1 points per game (85 points on the season) but made 9 of 11 shots and 5 of 8 free throws to reach his season-high total. Witt also had five rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
All toll, Washburn tallied 59 of its points in the paint and had a 45-35 rebounding margin. Making just 6 of 21 three point shots, the ‘Bods garnered 21 points off 15 UNK turnovers and had 51 bench points.
Besides Witt’s unlikely heroics, WU got 10 points from freshman reserve guard Jalen Lewis and 16 points and eight boards from senior starting guard Tyas Martin. Senior guard Javion Blake, averaging just over 20 points per game, finished with a season-low five in 21 minutes of work.
Shooting 32% on the night, UNK saw Juhl and Texas junior guard Chase Winchester score 12 apiece. The duo combined to go 6 of 11 from behind the arc and also provided seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Finally, Aurora freshman reserve Henry Penner got hot late and tallied eight points and six rebounds.
Kearney visits Emporia State (7-8, 2-4) Sunday afternoon. The Hornets led Fort Hays State 39-26 at the half tonight but fell by an 82-71 score.