ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Javion Blake scored a career-high 26 points and the Washburn men hit key free throws down the stretch to notch a 76-74 win over Lindenwood on Saturday at Hyland Arena.
Blake went 9 of 16 from the field and 7 of 8 from the foul line, eclipsing his previous personal best of 24 points. The junior guard from Olathe scored eight points in the final five minutes as Washburn won its sixth straight, improving to 8-3 overall and 3-0 in MIAA play.
“We got out early in transition, and coach (Brett Ballard) tells me to stay aggressive, no matter if my shot’s not falling or if it is falling,” Blake told KTPK-FM in a postgame interview. “It creates better opportunities for our team, and that’s what I did tonight.”
Blake broke a 61-all tie on a short jumper with 4:37 left and Washburn never relinquished the lead. WU led by a point with two minutes left before Brady Skeens made a layup with 1:57 left and then hit two free throws with 1:17 remaining to push WU’s lead to five.
Blake added two free throws with 49 seconds left to make it a six-point lead, and Cameron Wiggins hit 3 of 4 foul shots in the closing moments, including one that made it a four-point advantage with nine seconds left.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to step up and embrace that pressure and want to be in those situations,” Ballard told KTPK. “We haven’t shot (free throws) great all year, but it was a big opportunity for our guys to step up on the road and they did. Brady made a couple big ones and Cam was good down the stretch.”
Wiggins chipped in 12 points, Tyas Martin added 10 and Skeens finished 9 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
WASHBURN WOMEN 81, LINDENWOOD 69 — The Washburn women closed the second quarter with a 17-1 run and never trailed in the second half, moving to 9-1 on the season.
Lindenwood led 26-18 midway through the second frame before 3-pointers from Hunter Bentley and Reagan Phelan sparked the run that carried Washburn to a 35-27 lead at the break.
“We really got some stops and got out in transition,” WU coach Ron McHenry said in his postgame radio interview. “In that stretch, we were really making some nice decisions off turnovers and rebounds at the other end of the floor.
“We shared the ball well. It’s just always nice when you get stops and rebounds and can get out and run.”
Washburn, 3-0 in MIAA play, got the first two baskets of the third quarter to extend the run to 21-1 and take a 12-point lead. Lindenwood (7-3, 0-3) pulled within three early in the fourth quarter, but WU opened up a 10-point cushion with 5:48 left after Bentley hit a 3 to cap off a 7-0 run.
Freshman forward McKenzie Loe paced Washburn with 19 points off the bench, going 7 of 12 from the field and 5 of 6 from the foul line. Phelan scored 10 of her 18 points during Washburn’s second-quarter run.
Bentley gave the Ichabods a boost with a career-high 12 points. The freshman guard out of Miege was 4 of 7 from the floor and 3 of 4 from behind the arc.
“It helps a lot to have my teammates tell me to keep shooting,” Bentley told KTPK. “Once I made one, it wasn’t hard to keep shooting.”
The Washburn men and women will look to end the first semester unblemished in MIAA play when they face Lincoln in a doubleheader that begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Jefferson City, Mo.