Griffons come up short in overtime, fall 56-52
By Kyle Inman
February 13, 2013
Western men’s basketball lost an overtime thriller 56-52 to Washburn University at the MWSU Fieldhouse.
Washburn had revenge on its mind after being upset by the Griffons in Topeka last Wednesday, but it was Western dominating the early part of the game.
Guard Reed Mells came out hot and was responsible for scoring the first five points of the game and seven of the first nine points for the Griffons, who were up 9-4. Western had a 13-point lead off an Alfreeman Flowers layup, but was unable extend the lead further despite an extremely cold shooting display by Washburn.
The Ichabods shot just 26 percent in the first half and managed to score only 16 points. The Griffons struggled to create offense, but their defense allowed them to go into halftime with a 27-16 lead.
“I think the game was decided by us not making anything while the sun shined in the first half,” coach Tom Smith said. “We had every opportunity to be up by 15 or 20 in the first half and we couldn’t take advantage of it. Poor shot selection and turnovers hurt us.”
While the Griffons had problems turning the ball over to start the second half, Washburn was finding its shooting stroke. The Ichabods went on a 11-0 run early in the half to take a 31-29 lead.
The teams traded buckets right down to the end of the fourth quarter. With one minute to play, the Griffon defense forced a travel. On the offensive end, Kalvin Balque grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with 2.3 seconds left to play. He missed the first free throw, but made the second to force overtime.
Washburn big man Bobby Chipman hit a basket inside and then hit two free throws give the Ichabods a four point lead to start the overtime period and the Griffons couldn’t respond on the offensive end.
“I think we are getting better, just not closing out games,” Mells said. “We have a lot of talent and guys who want to play hard, but we are just inconsistent. It happens, but we can’t afford it.”
Western couldn’t find its shot and hit at just 35 percent from the field for the game, a mark that Smith says will not win him very many games.
“We should have won that game,” Smith said. “We were at home with every bit equal talent and they won the game. The tougher of the two teams won this game. They played tougher and with more confidence than we did tonight.”
Mells led the Griffons in scoring with 12 points including two from 3-point distance while Alfreeman Flowers put in 10 points, including nearly hitting a full court shot at the buzzer of regulation that would have ended it. Dzenan Mrkaljevic was all over the glass for 15 rebounds as Western out-rebounded Washburn 43-34.
“That was not two great teams out there tonight,” Smith said. “I felt like we played great at Topeka and as well as any team in the league, but we didn’t tonight.”
The Griffons are down to their last four regulation games before the MIAA tournament.