Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


There's no doubt that Washburn University men's basketball coach Brett Ballard was extremely disappointed in his team's performance in last Saturday's 72-67 home loss to Lincoln.

The Ichabods, now 5-8 overall and 2-5 in the MIAA, dug themselves a 20-point hole before a second-half rally came up short against the Blue Tigers.

"Disgusted is a good word for it,'' Ballard said of his mood in the wake of the Lincoln loss. "The film verified kind of what I felt. We just didn't execute the game plan, didn't compete at a high enough level and let them get a ton of confidence.

"Obviously against teams in this league you can't do that and we dug ourself too much of a hole.''

TylerNelsonLincoln2Washburn junior Tyler Nelson (14) is coming off an 18-point game in last Saturday's 72-67 MIAA loss to Lincoln. [File photo/TSN]

BrettBallardMOSOBrett Ballard's Washburn University men's basketball team will be aiming to bounce back from a 72-67 loss to Lincoln in Thursday's game at Missouri Southern. [File photo/TSN]

The good news is that the Ichabods will have a chance to bounce back from that loss in Thursday night's 7:30 conference game at Missouri Southern, the first of two straight road games.

"We're going to need our upperclassmen to set the tone if we want to flip this thing, and we can,'' Ballard said of Washburn's slow start to the season. "In order for us to have the success we need to have, they've got to be consistent at both ends of the floor.

"There is time, but you get to the middle of January and it's go time so you've got to put your foot on the gas.''

Washburn will be facing a Lion team that is one of the hottest teams in the MIAA entering this week, stretching their winning streak to six games with a 75-65 road win at Nebraska-Kearney.

The Ichabods have won the last two games in the series with the Lions and lead the all-time series, 51-36.

Sophomore Andrew Orr leads the Ichabods with a 13.9 scoring average while averaging 15.7 ppg in MIAA contests.

Orr has reached double figures in 10 of 13 games this season and is second on the team with a 5.6 rebounding average.

Connor Deffebaugh, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury averages 10.2 points and 3.4 assists per game while Hayden product Levi Braun averages 9.8 points and has hit 32 of 74 3-pointers this season, including 15 of 28 in his last four games.

Michael Keegan is averaging 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds with 14 steals and 13 blocks. In MIAA games Keegan is scoring 10.4 points a game with 5.6 rebounds.

Tyler Nelson is averaging 7.8 points overall and is scoring 8.6 points in MIAA contests after an 18-point performance against Lincoln.

Freshman Brady Christiansen made his third start of the season against Lincoln and is averaging 4.9 points and 8.0 rebounds, which leads the Ichabods. 

Missouri Southern is 10-4 overall and 6-2 in the MIAA.

The Lions have four players averaging in double figures, led by Vinson Sigmon Jr., who is scoring 12.6 points per game.

Ndongo Ndaw leads Southern with a 7.1 rebounding average.

Washburn will play at Pittsburg State on Saturday before returning home to begin a four-game homestand.

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