MSSU men drop close one with Washburn

Feb. 29—Make it two games in a row where the Missouri Southern men's basketball team dropped a game that went down to the wire with an MIAA opponent that is above them in the standings.

On Saturday it was against 14th-ranked Fort Hays State. On Wednesday, the Lions suffered a home loss to Washburn in a 77-72 final. And that was an Ichabods group that was receiving votes to be ranked this week.

There were 12 ties throughout the game and 13 lead changes as both teams battled back-and-forth from start to finish.

Southern (13-14, MIAA 11-10) led 53-51 after an Avery Taggart 3-pointer went through the basket with 12:25 left to play in the game. And the back-and-forth ensued for a moment as Jack Bachelor tied the game for Washburn with a layup. Then Martin Macenis put MSSU back ahead with a layup of his own at the 9:53-mark.

Former Kickapoo High School standout and Washburn freshman Brayden Shorter tied the game at 55 with a jumper. The Lions immediately responded with a jumper from Taggart to make it 57-55.

With 8:43 to play, Taggart drilled another triple to give his team a 5-point lead. The Lions kept that lead until Bachelor converted a layup at the 4:19-mark to make it 67-66 in favor of the Ichabods.

The teams traded leads two more times but once Washburn (18-9, MIAA 14-7) went ahead 69-68 with 3:22 showing on the clock, it never relinquished that advantage.

Darius Dawson did hit two free throws to bring MSSU within 1 at 71-70 but then Shorter hit a trey to make it a 4-point lead. A Macenis layup made it 74-72 with 38 seconds to go. But, again, the Ichabods hit a timely shot as Sam Ungashick buried a 3-point basket to seal the win.

Macenis led the Lions with a career-best 23 points; Taggart added 19 and Dawson 12.

Washburn had five players in double figures. Andrew Orr and Shorter led the way with 16 apiece. Michael Keegan chipped in 12, Bachelor 11, and Ungashick 10.

MSSU is back in action at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against 5th-ranked Northwest Missouri State University to conclude regular season play. The MIAA tournament begins on Wednesday, March 6.