Ichabods tip off exhibition schedule at UNLV Tuesday night

Ichabods tip off exhibition schedule at UNLV Tuesday night
The Ichabods will play their first of two exhibitions Tuesday night at NCAA Division I Nevada-Las Vegas. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time and 9:30 p.m. Central Time and will be carried on Country Legends 106.9 FM in Topeka and over the internet at www.wusports.com for free.

The game will feature two teams that are trying to acclimate new-look squads. Washburn returns six letterwinners and has nine newcomers on the roster while the Runnin’ Rebels return eight letterwinners with five players looking for their first action. Both teams have to replace their top scorers and rebounders from last year.

Washburn is coming off an 8-19 season from last year while the Rebels went 30-7, won the Mountain West Conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA I sweet 16. They were ranked as high as 14th in the final polls last year but were unranked in this year’s preseason polls.

The two teams met last year in a regular season game and in 2005-06 in an exhibition. UNLV won 83-55 last year and 73-53 the year before.

Washburn’s leading returning scorer is senior guard Andrew Meile who scored 9.2 points a game last year. UNLV’s leading returner is Wink Adams, who finished with 13.9 points a game last year.

About the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Nevada-Las Vegas plays it one and only exhibition after winning the Mountain West Conference postseason tournament and advancing to the NCAA Division I sweet 16 last year. The Runnin’ Rebels finished 30-7 last year and went 19-1 at the Thomas and Mack Center, finishing with 17 straight wins, a streak that started with their 83-55 win over Washburn on November 21. Their last home loss was the previous game, a 79-76 setback to California-Santa Barbara.

UNLV loses five seniors from last year’s team but returns second-leading scorer Wink Adams, who averaged 13.9 points a game last year and put up 17 against the Ichabods.

Head coach Lon Kruger is in his fourth year with the Rebels (64-34, .653) and 22nd year overall (382-267, .589). He is one of four coaches to lead three different schools to the NCAA I sweet 16 as he did so with Kansas State, Florida and with UNLV last year.

The Silver Lake, Kansas, native is a 1975 graduate of Kansas State, playing two years with Ichabod coach Bob Chipman. Kruger came to UNLV in 2004 after four years as an assistant in the NBA. His collegiate coaching experience includes Pan American, Kansas State, Florida and Illinois. He has coached nine teams into the NCAA tournament, including his 1993-94 Florida team that advanced to the Final Four. His first coaching assignment was as a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State.

Series notes
• This is the second meeting between these two schools in an exhibition. The two also met on November 11, 2005 with the Rebels winning, 73-53.
• The two also met in the regular season last year and UNLV won, 83-55.
• Washburn has shot 38 percent in the two games combined. Andrew Meile is the leading returning scorer against UNLV with 15 points in the two games. He scored 10 last year.

Chipman and Kruger face off after playing together at K-State
After taking Kansas State to back-to-back Big 8 titles in 1971-72 and 1972-73 as players, Lon Kruger and Bob Chipman will face off as head coaches for the fourth time in their careers. The two faced off on Dec. 17, 1983 when Chipman was in his fifth year as the Ichabods head coach and Kruger was coaching Texas Pan-American. Kruger’s squad won the game 77-70 and also defeated Chipman 73-53 in an exhibition game in 2005-06 and 83-55 in a regular season game last year.

Kruger’s nephew Shannon was a four-year starter for the Ichabods from 1998 to 2002. Shannon finished his career No. 16 on Washburn’s all-time scoring chart with 1,014 points. UNLV assistant coach Steve Henson’s younger brother Brian played for Washburn and Chipman from 1993-95 and hit 84 3-point attempts for his career. His .389 3-point FG percentage is No. 9 on the school’s all-time chart.

A winning history
• The Ichabods are 1,336-925 (.591 in 2,261 games) and are in their 103rd season of basketball.
• Starting their 24th season in Lee Arena, the Ichabods are 308-55 (.849).
• In 18 seasons now as an NCAA II school, the Ichabods have 10 NCAA tournament appearances and nine MIAA titles.
• Washburn won the 1986-87 NAIA national championship with a 35-4 record under head coach Bob Chipman in his eighth year as coach.
• The Ichabods suffered their first losing season in 2005-06 since 1976-77 and first of head coach Bob Chipman’s career. They also failed to advance to the MIAA tournament for the first time since joining the league in 1989-90.

Ichabods well familiar with “America’s Playground”
This will be Washburn’s 13th trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, to play in the last 14 years, since 1994-95. Washburn has taken on UNLV the last two years and has also played in the High Desert Classic 10 times. The Ichabods did not make it to Vegas in 1999-2000 or in 2004-05 but made two trips in 2005-06 to play an exhibition against UNLV and then later to play in the High Desert Classic. The Ichabods are 0-2 against UNLV but are 14-6 in the High Desert Classic.

Three NCAA I opponents highlight 2007-08 basketball schedule
Washburn will once again be tested early and often when it starts the 2007-08 men’s basketball season. Head coach Bob Chipman and the Ichabods announced their schedule this week, which begins with three straight games against NCAA Division I opponents, including a regular season game against Kansas.

Following the game with the Rebels Washburn will play another tune up at Missouri-Kansas City in Municipal Auditorium on November 13. That game will count for the Kangaroos but will be an exhibition for WU.

The 103rd season of Washburn basketball will officially tip off with a game against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on November 15. The Ichabods and Jayhawks met last year in an exhibition and last played a regular season game in the 1996-97 season.

Ichabods picked to finish 9th in conference
Washburn was picked ninth in the MIAA preseason poll voted on by the league head coaches. The Ichabods are coming off an 8-19 season last year in which they finished last in the MIAA at 4-14.

Head coach Bob Chipman will return for his 29th season at Washburn with four seniors on the team and three returning starters. Joining the six total returning letterwinners will be eight newcomers and a returning redshirt.

Northwest Missouri State was selected to repeat as league champions after sharing the title with Central Missouri last year. The Mules were selected second in the poll. Washburn received 26 points in the voting, one less than No. 8 Truman and four more than 10th-ranked Missouri Southern.

Ichabods finish 2006-07 seventh in the nation in average attendance
For the sixth straight year Washburn finished in the top 10 in NCAA Division II average attendance. With over 29,000 fans watching the Ichabods last year in 11 home games they averaged 2,652 fans per game, the seventh highest total.

As a conference the MIAA finished second in the nation with an average of 1,894 fans per game and Washburn was the second highest ranked conference school.

The Ichabods’ season high attendance was January 3 when then-No. 8 Emporia State came to town and the two played in front of 3,750 fans.

Byers moves up career blocking record chart
Junior forward Paul Byers is ninth in school history with 48 career blocks. He needs nine more to move to eighth and 18 more will get him into the top five. He had 17 blocks last year and in 2005-06, his freshman year, he had 31, the eighth highest single-season total at Washburn. Byers begins the year fifth in school history with 0.9 blocks a game.

Meile returns after starting every game last year
Senior guard Andrew Meile will return for his fourth season after being the only Ichabod to start all 27 games last year. He finished second on the team with 9.1 points and game and second with 2.0 assists. He led the team with 1.3 steals and 48 made 3-pointers.

Former Ichabod Phifer signs basketball contract overseas with Spanish league
Washburn’s leading scorer from this past year, Frank Phifer has signed a contract to play professional basketball in the Spanish LEB Bronze League for Juventud de Cordoba.

Phifer reported to Cordoba, Spain, in August and the regular season started October 16 and will last until May 13. The 6-9 post player will be a forward on his new team.

Phifer finished his college career with Washburn this past season leading the Ichabods with 15.3 points per game and a .503 field goal percentage. The 6-9 post player earned second team all-MIAA honors as he finished second on the team with 6.6 rebounds per game. His scoring average was sixth in the MIAA, while he also ranked seventh in rebounding, fifth in field goal percentage and third in blocked shots. His 12 of 13 performance from the field at Northwest Missouri while scoring 32 points was the best field goal percentage for a single game in the MIAA this season and his 18 rebounds at Cameron were an MIAA-high. His seven blocked shots against Missouri Southern was also a league high.

This will not be Phifer’s first basketball experience overseas. Last August he and the rest of the Ichabods played four games in China. He averaged 12.0 points per game and shot 53 percent in the games against Chinese universities.

Bods and Ends
• Washburn set a school and MIAA record last year with five overtime games. The Ichabods went 3-2 in the games, taking two of them to double overtime.
• The Ichabods won on the road at MWSU for the second time this year after winning just once away last year. WU is 3-16 on the road in the last two years.
• Washburn suffered its two lowest point totals as an NCAA II school last year. The Ichabods scored just 45 at Truman and the 50 points scored by Washburn at Central Missouri was its previous lowest total since joining DII in 1989-90.
• The Ichabods are 30-24 all-time in overtimes with three wins and two losses this year. Washburn is 6-7 all-time in 13 games that went into at least double-overtime.
• The Ichabods reached approximately over 25,000 miles of travel last year dating back to the summer trip to China. That’s about 23 miles longer than the equatorial circumference of the Earth.

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