Don Vieth, Assistant Athletics Director for Strategic Communications
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State led as many as 12-points in the second half, but they could not hold off No. 5-ranked Washburn on Saturday, falling in an 85-84 overtime heartbreaker inside the NSU Event Center.
The RiverHawks held the lead for over 36 minutes, but a 17-4 run by Washburn (7-0, 7-0 MIAA) in the final ten minutes of the game was enough to send the game to overtime and the eventual win.
Washburn’s largest lead of four came in the final seconds of overtime.
“I hate it for our guys; I thought we really competed hard. It was a one-possession game in the last five minutes of regulation and obviously in overtime,” said head coach Ja Havens. “You got to make plays. They (Washburn) made one more play than us.”
“We are right there; we need to make one more play. Give them credit; there are no excuses or explanation from us…they won the game, and we aren’t ok with it. That’s not what our program is going to be about.”
Brad Davis was two points short of matching his career-high with 22 on Saturday; the senior would set a career mark in assists with eight. Trey Sampson recorded his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Behind five early treys by the RiverHawks and a poor start by the Ichabods, NSU led as many as nine points in the first half. Washburn took advantage of a five-minute dry spell from the RiverHawks and used an 11-2 run to pull even with NSU in the final two minutes. Four quick points by NSU to close out the half gave them a 30-26 advantage over Washburn, who has not trailed into the intermission this season.
NSU was up 55-43 with 11:15 remaining in the game before Washburn got hot and finished regulation, shooting 10-for-15 and making six three-pointers. The Ichabods’ Tyler Geiman went off for 13 points during that run.
In overtime, Obi Agu put the RiverHawks on top 76-74 with a bucket out of the gates but critical turnovers and missed free throws were enough to give the Ichabods the late win.
Agu finished the afternoon with 14 points, which is his personal best at NSU. Troy Locke had 15-points and seven rebounds.
Northeastern State (1-7, 1-7 MIAA) out-rebounded Washburn 44-to-32 and shot 43.1-percent (25-58) on the floor. The Ichabods were led by Geiman, who had 29 points and was a rebound short of a double-double.
Davis never went to the bench. He played all 45 minutes, which is the most time playing in a game since Jan. 17, 2009 (Ricky Branham, 44 minutes at Texas A&M-Commerce).
This is the fifth game this season for NSU to play a team on the NABC poll.
With the postponement of Thursday’s game against Central Oklahoma, the RiverHawks will return to action on Jan. 9 with Newman visiting the Event Center for a 3:30 p.m. tip.