The Ichabods mounted a furious rally coming back from down seven with 5:10 to go outscoring Fort Hays State 20-6 the rest of the game as Washburn topped the Tigers 80-73 in the NCAA Division II Showcase game on a frigid Saturday in Lee Arena. With the win the Ichabods remain perfect in Lee Arena at 9-0 moving to 13-3 on the season and 6-1 in the MIAA.
Will McKee jump started the run with a free throw and then David Salach scored five straight points for the Ichabods as Washburn cut the Tiger lead to one at 67-66 with 3:32 to play. A breakaway layup by Javion Blake off a pass from Tyler Geiman and a two more free throws by McKee pushed the lead to 70-67 with 2:27 to go.
The Tigers hit two free throws with 2:20 to play, but a dunk by Salach and a layup by Blake pushed the lead back to five at 74-69 with 1:41 to go. A 3-pointer by Brady Werth trimmed the lead back to two at 74-72 with 91 seconds remaining, but Washburn finished the game with a 16 to 5 spurt closing out the win with the second half comeback in the only meeting between the two schools in the regular season.
Washburn led by four at the break up 38-34 behind 63 percent shooting while the Tigers, who dropped to 12-5 overall and 6-2 in the MIAA, shot 50 percent hitting 14 of 28 from the field.
Salach led the Ichabods scoring a game-high and career-high 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field adding five rebounds. Blake scored 19 with six assists and McKee finished with 13 points. Salach also recorded two blocks moving his career total to 100 tying Ewan Auguste for second on the all-time Ichabod chart.
Marcus Cooper scored 21 to lead the Tigers and Werth scored 20.
Washburn wrapped up the game shooting 56 percent from the field going 29 of 52 overall while the Tigers dropped to 38 percent in the second half hitting 44 percent from the field overall at 25 of 57. Washburn was a season-best 18 of 21 from the free throw line and held a 28 to 27 advantage on the glass.
Both teams stayed under 10 turnovers as the Tigers committed nine and the Ichabods had only seven.
Washburn will be back in action at Missouri Southern on Jan. 23 in Joplin before facing Pittsburg State on Jan. 26. Washburn’s next home game will be on Jan. 31 against Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Arena.