The battle of the top two teams in the latest NCAA Central Regional polls went the wrong direction as the Ichabods fell to the nation’s No. 1 team in a 72-49 loss to Northwest Missouri. Washburn will wrap up the regular season on Saturday with Missouri Western at 3 p.m. and can wrap up the No. 2 seed in the MIAA Championships Tournament with a win over the Griffons.
After the Ichabods (21-6, 14-4 MIAA) scored the first two points of the game on a jumper David Salach, the Bearcats (29-0, 19-0 MIAA) went on a 14-2 run building a 14-4 lead and would go on to a 24-14 lead before back to back 3-pointers by Salach and Jalen Lewis pulled the Ichabods within four at 24-20 with 5:50 to play before the break, but again the Bearcats pushed the lead back to 12 before Lewis and Tyler Geiman hit back to back treys cutting the lead to six until a 3-pointer by Northwest pushed the margin back to nine at the break as the Bearcats led 35-26.
In the second half, the Ichabods were held to six field goals on 26 attempts finishing with a season-low 16 of 56 from the field at 29 percent shooting for the game while Northwest hit 22 of 50 shots for a 44 percent clip to pick up the 23-point win as the Bearcats would lead by as many as 29 in the game.
Lewis led the Ichabods with 13 points off the bench hitting three 3-pointers and Salach scored 11 and Tyas Martinrecorded 10. Joey Witthus led four Bearcats in double figures with a game-high 19 points.
Washburn was outrebounded 39 to 31 in the game as the Bearcats had 10 of their 22 field goals go for 3-pointers in the game while shooting 18 of 23 from the free throw line. Washburn was 12 of 15 from the charity stripe in the game.
Prior to the start of the game on Saturday with Missouri Western, the five seniors and their families on the squad will all be honored prior to tip. They include Javion Blake, David Salach, Tyas Martin, Emeka Ogbonna and Devyn Wilson.