TOPEKA, Kan. (Washburn Athletics) - The Washburn Ichabod men's basketball team jumped out to a 21-5 lead over Northeastern State building a lead as many as 36 midway through the second half and never looked back in an 87-60 Valentine's Day victory. The Ichabods improve to 18-5 with the win and 11-3 in the MIAA to remain in sole possession of second place in the league race. The Ichabods will play host to Central Oklahoma on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Ichabods shot a blistering 73 percent in the first half from the field and connected on 11 of 13 3-point attempts for an 85 percent average while building a 48-22 lead at the end of the first half. Washburn held the RiverHawks (12-11, 6-8 MIAA) shooting in the opening frame. Washburn hit 7 of its first 9 shots from the field and 5 of its first 16 3-point attempts en route to 17 3-pointers on the evening – one shy of the school record set earlier this season against Southwest Baptist in Lee Arena.
In the second half, the RiverHawks would get no closer than 22 with 1:38 to go in the game.
Javion Blake led the Ichabods with 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting with two assists in 28 minutes of play. Blake upped his career scoring total to 1,656 passing Harold Brown (1970-74) and Ryan Murphy (1999-2003) to move into fourth place all-time on the Ichabod scoring chart. Next on the list is Will McNeill (2008-13) who scored 1,701 points in 117 games.
Jalen Lewis scored 14 off the bench hitting four 3-pointers in six attempts. Devyn Wilson scored 12 points and Will McKee added 11 points with a game-high nine rebounds. Tyler Geiman scored seven points and dished out nine assists. David Salach scored nine points with six boards, two assists and two blocks.
Caleb Smith led the RiverHawks with 22 points.
Washburn outrebounded the NSU 36 to 30 and turned 14 RiverHawk turnovers into 20 points. Washburn had 23 assists on 32 buckets and finished the game 32 of 57 from the field for a 56 percent clip while NSU was 24 of 57 for a 42 percent average.
A dominating fourth quarter on Thursday night helped the Washburn Ichabods to a 73-60 victory over Northeastern State as they improved to 16-7 and 11-3 in the MIAA. The Ichabods, which claimed sole possession of second in the league standings, were paced by Nicole Murugarren's career-night who netted 18 points and had 15 rebounds. As a result, Murugarren is the first player to tally least 15 points and 15 boards in a game since Brittany Lynch has 20 and 17 at Southwest Baptist on Dec. 5, 2013.
Leading by a narrow 47-46 margin to begin the fourth, Washburn opened the period with a quick 10-0 run as Murugarren sparked the rally with back-to-back buckets before Taylor Blue and Cara Donley knocked consecutive threes. The Ichabods then took a 65-50 advantage with 2:47 to go as they netted eight of the next 10 points. Murugarren again fronted the push, this time with five points, while Hunter Bentley chipped in with three of her seven on the night.
Northeastern State cut the margin to 11 with 1:14 remaining, but the effort was not enough as Washburn was smooth was the charity stripe, converting 5-of-6 chances in the final minute and finished the game shooting 14-of-19 from the line.
Washburn shot .391 for the game, as it converted 27-of-69 attempts from the floor and 5-of-15 from behind the arc, while the defense held the RiverHawks (6-17, 3-11 MIAA) to 19-of-62 shooting though they were 7-of-17 from three-point distance.
The RiverHawks lead 14-13 after the opening frame. Behind a 9-0 run to open and a 9-4 stretch to close the Washburn rallied in the second by a slim 33-30 margin at the break before keen outside shooting from NSU helped it to edge out a 16-14 third.
On the glass, Washburn overwhelmed Northeastern State, 52-36, as it finished with three double-figure rebounders. In addition to Murugarren's 15, Blue and Bentley each pulled down 10 apiece.
Blue also netted 14 points for her third double-double of the year. Reagan Phelan also had 14 as she finished with four assists and three steals, while Alexis McAfee added 13 points. Defensively Annette Warner was impressive, notching her third five-block performance of season.
Washburn returns to action at Lee Arena on Saturday at 1 pm as it faces Central Oklahoma. At halftime of Saturday's contest, Washburn will celebrate its 50th season women's basketball and other women's sports. All alumni and fans are encouraged to take part in the festivities.