Washburn men, women sweep Nebraska-Kearney

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(Washburn Athletics) - The Nebraska-Kearney Lopers scored the first point of the game, but the Ichabods responded by scoring the next 12 points jumping out to a 16 to 3 lead in the first eight minutes of the game en route to an 89-54 win on Wednesday night in Lee Arena. The Ichabods (12-3, 5-1 MIAA) return to action on Saturday hosting Fort Hays State in the NCAA Game of the Week starting at 3 p.m. following the women's game.

The Ichabods would go on to build their lead to 24 to 7 in the first half with 6:23 to play before taking a 34 to 18 lead into the halftime break as Washburn held UNK to 7 of 29 shooting in the first half.

Nebraska-Kearney (5-11, 0-7 MIAA) closed the margin to 13 in the second half at 45-31 with 15:19 to play in the game, but the Ichabods kicked off a 24-11 run pushing the lead to 26 at 69-43 going on to lead by as many as 33 with under a minute to play breaking the series record with the Lopers for the largest win in the 44-game history topping a 30-point win over UNK on Dec. 14, 1951 in Kearrney in a 94-64 Ichabod win.

Tyler Geiman dished out the had a career-high 16 assists falling just one shy of tying the Ichabod record set by all-time assists leader Jordan Canfield who had 17 against Missouri-St. Louis on Feb. 11, 1995. Geiman's total matched the 16 by Randall Smith notched against Missouri Southern on Feb. 6, 2016. Geiman added a career-high nine rebounds as well.

Sevon Witt scored a career-high 23 points on 9 of 11 shooting from the field with five rebounds. Tyas Martin scored 16 with eight rebounds and David Salach scored 13 with six boards.

Kyle Juhl and Chase Winchester each had 12 points to lead the Lopers.

Washburn finished 51 percent from the field hitting 35 of 69 shots overall going 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the second half after going 0 for 9 in the opening 20 minutes. UNK was held to 20 of 62 shooting overall and improved to 8 of 16 from deep in the second half after hitting only one of eight attempts in the first half. Washburn was 13 of 16 from the free throw line and the Lopers were 9 of 13.

On the glass, the Ichabods held a 45 to 35 advantage and outscored the Lopers 21 to 2 in fast break points and 51 to 21 in bench points as well as 59 to 18 in the paint. The Ichabods also forced 15 turnovers leading to 24 points.

In spite of netting just nine points, Alexis McAfee only needed a last second layup to be the hero for the Washburn women's basketball team on Wednesday as it slipped past Nebraska-Kearney in overtime, 62-60, extending its win streak to nine straight.

Tied at 56 at the end of regulation, Washburn (11-4, 6-0 MIAA) opened the extra period with consecutive buckets from Annette Warner and Hunter Bentley, claiming a 60-56 lead with 2:28 to go. The Ichabod offense however then cooled as it was held scoreless for the next 2:32. During that stretch, the Lopers (10-6, 3-4 MIAA) rallied back and knocked down a three-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to tie the game 60.

Following a Washburn timeout and with 21 seconds remaining, Shelbe Piggie inbounded the ball to Reagan Phelan though a swarm of bodies in the lane made it hard to find an open Ichabod. With time winding down, Phelan hit a cutting McAfee on the backdoor for the layup before time expired.

The overtime victory was the second of the season for the Ichabods and their 51st all-time.

Washburn trailed 13-10 after the opening frame, converting on just 4-of-18 from the field. However, the offense warmed up in second as shots fell, with the Ichabods making 7-of-12 from the floor, including 3-for-5 from long range. Phelan paced the offense in the opening half with 11 points while Nicole Murugarren had six at the break to give Washburn a narrow 27-24 advantage.

Possession of the board bounced back-and-forth in the third, as the sides battled through a tie and three lead changes during the opening four minutes. With UNK leading 38-37, Washburn regained the lead behind a 7-2 run with help from Murgarren, Taylor Blue and McAfee. The Lopers however leveled the score twice more including a last second three-pointer, to start the fourth tied at 47.

Trailing 55-53 late into the fourth, Piggie buried a three from the right side to nudging Washburn to a one-point margin with 1:33 left. After neither side is able to score in regular play, a hard luck foul however sends UNK to the line where it goes 1-for-2. Tied at 56 with 18 seconds to go, Phelan last second effort fell short.

Phelan lead the Washburn effort with 13 points and six assists, while notching a game-high five steals. Murugarren finished with 12 points and three rebounds, while Blue aided the cause with eight points, eight rebounds. The hero, McAfee, meanwhile contributed with four assists, three steals and a block to go with her nine points.

Washburn shot .362 as it completed 25-of-69 chances from the field, and was 8-for-26 from behind the arc. UNK however was 24-for-48 from the floor, with 5-of-12 shooting from deep. The Ichabod defense however forced a season-high 26 turnovers, resulting in 15 points. Washburn also held a slim 37-34 advantage in rebounds, and a 13-7 margin in second chance points.

The Ichabods will return to Lee Arena on Saturday when they host in-state rival and nationally-ranked Fort Hays State. Tip-off is slated for 1 pm, and will be aired on Facebook Live and Twitter as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase.