The Washburn men’s basketball team certainly spread around the wealth.
The Ichabods featured eight players that scored over six points as Washburn downed Missouri Southern 87-72 on Thursday night in a MIAA matchup inside Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Leading by 44-36 at the break, Washburn (9-6, 6-3 MIAA) used a 43-34 outburst in the second half to pull away from the Lions.
“We just didn’t have any energy,” MSSU head coach Jeff Boschee said. “I thought we competed in the first half. In the second half, we came out lackadaisical against one of the best teams in the league and arguably the best team in the league. I’m at a loss of words honestly when we do stuff like that. When we as coaches have to coach effort, we won’t be very good. If we can coach basketball, we have a chance.”
The Ichabods opened the second half on a 13-4 run that was capped by a pair of free throws from All-American guard Tyler Geiman as Washburn took a 57-42 advantage with 14:50 to play in the half.
And Washburn was off to the races as two freebies from Jeremy Harrell extended its lead out to 71-51 with 7:50 to play in the ballgame. MSSU showed signs of life late as Avery Taggart capped a 19-10 run with a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 83-70 with 53 seconds left in regulation, but the deficit proved to be insurmountable in the end.
Both teams were evenly matched early on. However, the Lions got off to a 17-12 start thanks to a trey from Winston Dessesow at the 12:42 mark in the first half.
The Ichabods countered with a 14-8 run to take a 26-25 lead after a lay-in from 6-foot-9 forward Jonny Clausing with 6:46 to play. MSSU answered with a 9-4 run, taking a 34-30 lead when Dessesow knocked down a triple just two minutes later.
But it was all Washburn the rest of the way as it followed with a 14-4 surge to close out the first half. Michael Keegan buried a 3 to give the Ichabods a 44-38 lead over the Lions with three seconds left in the opening half.
Washburn was paced by Geiman, who flirted with a triple-double. The 6-foot-1 senior posted a line of 12 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists on the night.
Jeremy Harrell contributed a team-high 13 points while pulling down seven boards for the Ichabods. Jalen Lewis and Clausing each had 12 points, while Keegan finished with nine.
Tyler Nelson and Kevaughn Ellis tallied eight points apiece for Washburn, and Connor Deffebaugh chipped in six. The Ichabods were picked to finish second in the MIAA preseason polls.
“They are so experienced,” Boschee said. “They have everybody returning from a team that went to the NCAA tournament three years in a row. Geiman is a fifth-year guy. They have guys around him who can shoot it. They are fully healthy. They have Tyler Nelson back. They have Clausing back. Those guys are key components from their run last year in the NCAA tournament.
“When you are playing against a team like that, you have to play for a full 40 minutes. We were the more immature team tonight and it showed.”
Nixa product Christian Bundy put together a big game for MSSU (8-5, 5-2 MIAA) with a game-high 18 points. He shot 8 of 12 from the field, including 1 of 4 from beyond the arc.
Bundy dished out a team-high five assists and collected four rebounds.
MSSU plays Emporia State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.