From the MIAA .
Senior G Andrew Meile scored eight points in a 13-4 run late in the first half to spur sixth-seeded Washburn to a 79-68 victory over No. 3 seed Central Missouri in the first round of the MIAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Friday night (March 7) at Municipal Auditorium.
The Ichabods (18-10), in the tourney for the first time in three seasons, will face second-seeded Northwest Missouri State — the only one of the event’s top four seeds to advance — in the semifinal round Saturday (March 8) at 8:15 p.m.
The defending champion Mules (18-10) led by six, 27-21, when Meile hit one of his five three-point goals on the night to slice the UCM lead in half at the 5:05 mark. A jumper by senior F Brady Sisk after a Central Missouri turnover made it 27-26 with 4:36 to go.
Junior F Skip Thomas’ two free throws put the margin back at three, then another Meile trey knotted the game at 29-29 with 3:45 to go until the break. Junior G De’Andre Byrd scored on the next UCM possession to again put the Mules in front.
That would be Central Missouri’s last lead of the game. Meile nailed another jumper to make it 31-31 with 2:03 remaining, and a three-pointer from sophomore G Mario Scott with 51 seconds on the clock gave WU the lead.
A pair of free throws by senior F Kevin Wollbrinck cut the gap to one, but a charity by junior F Darnell Kimble set the WU’s lead at 35-33 for halftime.
Kimble opened the second half with a jumper to make it a two possession game, and it was never any closer. Washburn’s lead grew to double digits by the 10:13 mark, and reached its peak at 16 with 2:57 to go as the Ichabods shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the field in the period.
UCM led by nine in the early going, 17-8, thanks to the hot hand of junior G Joe Young, who scored seven of the Mules’ first 13 points on his way to game scoring honors with 26 points. He had 17 in the second half.
Meile finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for Washburn — all team highs in the game. He was 7-of-9 from the field, 5-of-7 from long range and 4-of-7 at the charity stripe as he posted his first career double-double.
Junior F James Williams and Kimble each added 13 points. Williams scoring all came in the second half, when he was 4-of-5 from the floor — 3-for-3 from the three-point arc.
The Mules had three others join Young in double figures — Thomas finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Wollbrinck and Byrd each totalled 10 points. UCM had just four assists on 20 made baskets.