MARYVILLE, Mo. -- The No. 25-ranked Washburn Ichabods dropped a heartbreaker falling 63-61 at Northwest Missouri. Washburn returns home on Thursday to face Nebraska-Kearney. The Ichabods are tied for third in the MIAA standings one game behind Fort Hays State and Central Missouri, who both will visit Topeka in the last two weeks of the season.
The Ichabods and the Bearcats were tied at 54 with 1:52 to play in the game after Will McNeill hit a jumper to tie the score leading to a Washburn timeout.The Bearcats' De'Angelo Hailey hit a pair of free throws with 1:25 to play putting Northwest back up two and they would go up four after they converted a layup. The Bearcats extended their lead to six with 18 seconds left after another pair of Hailey free throws.
The Ichabods' Martin Mitchell hit a 3-pointer from the corner cutting the lead in half with 15 seconds to play. The Bearcats were fouled and hit one of two free throws with 14 seconds to play.
Leon Flowers hit a 3-pointer of his own with 11 seconds to play pulling Washburn within one at 61-60. The Bearcats' Hailey went back to the line and hit both free throws with five seconds remaining. On the inbounds play, McNeill was fouled and went to the line with four seconds to play and hit the first one making the score 63-61. McNeill intentionally missed the second and Mitchell's shot after McNeill rebounded rimmed out and Joseph Smith's tip at the buzzer fell off the side wrapping up the win for the Bearcats.
The Ichabods (16-6, 9-5 MIAA) led 32-25 at the break after the Bearcats turned a double digit deficit into the seven-point difference after De'Angelo Hailey hit a buzzer beater from halfcourt with no time remaining on the clock.
Washburn was 13 of 24 in the first half shooting 54 percent while the Bearcats almost shot the same hitting 53 percent connecting on 10 of 19 shots. Washburn did have a 12 to 10 advantage on the glass turning nine offensive rebounds into seven second chance points.
The Ichabods were led by McNeill's 23 adding six rebounds. Wiggins had 11 points and Mitchell finished with 10. Bobby Chipman had six points and a team-high nine rebounds before fouling out.
The Bearcats were led by Hailey's 19 points while Connor Crooker had 16 and Grant Cozad had 11. None of the Bearcat starters reached double figures as the Northwest bench outscored the Ichabods 46 to 9.
After shooting 54 percent in the first half the Ichabods cooled off to 38 percent in the second half hitting 25 of 56 overall for a 45 percent average. Northwest finished 21 of 42 from the field overall. At the free throw line, the Bearcats were 18 of 27 compared to 7 of 10 for the Ichabods.