Washburn basketball looks for continued improvement under new coach

Washburn Basketball prepares for their 2017 season under Brent Ballard.

Courtesy: Washburn Athletics

Opening Tip
• For the first time since the 1979-80 season, the Washburn Ichabods will have a new coach on the sidelines as the Brett Ballard era begins at Washburn. Ballard replaces 38-year head coach Bob Chipman who retired last season after 808 wins on the Ichabod bench.
• The Washburn Ichabods tip off the 2017-18 campaign with the 26th Annual Hillyard Classic in St. Joseph, Mo., with two games starting Friday at 11 a.m. with Northern State and on Sunday with Winona State at 4 p.m.
• The Ichabods were picked third in the MIAA Preseason Coaches poll receiving one first-place vote trailing defending national champion Northwest Missouri and Central Missouri who was second in the poll.
• The Ichabods finished last season with a 20-10 record tying for fourth in the MIAA standings.
• Washburn is 79-33-1 all-time in season openers entering its 114th season overall.
• Washburn returns 13 letterwinners off last season’s squad with all five starters back.

Ichabod notebook
• Brett Ballard is the 15th coach in Washburn men’s basketball history and only the third since 1966.
• Ichabod head coaches have gone 8-6 in their Washburn debut.
• Washburn returns 97.2 percent of its scoring (2,271 of 2,336) from last season as well as 93.8 percent of its rebounds (1,070 of 1,140), 99.1 percent of its 3-pointers (217 of 219), 98.7 percent of its assists (457 of 463) and 99.8 percent of its minutes (5,993 of 6,000).
• Washburn’s Brady Skeens is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder after averaging 14.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game … the two-time MIAA Defensive Player of the Year is a preseason All-American selection entering his senior season.
• Cameron Wiggins is the team’s second-leading scorer with 12.3 ppg last season hitting a team-high 72 of 166 3-pointers last year.
• Javion Blake earned honorable mention All-MIAA honors last year after scoring 12.2 ppg starting all 30 games … he has started all 58 games in his Washburn career entering his junior season.
• Isaac Clark started 10 of 30 games last year and averaged 8.9 ppg and improved to 9.3 in MIAA contests.
• David Salach scored 8.4 ppg last season with 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game starting 28 of 30 games.
• Randall Smith was sixth in the MIAA in assists and led the team with 107 overall scoring 8.4 ppg making 29 starts.
• Washburn also returns Drew Pyle (28 games/3.9 ppg), Cooper Holmes (25 games/3.9 ppg), Emeka Ogbonna (27 games/2.6 ppg), Tyas Martin (25 games/1.6 ppg), Clayton Holmberg (16 games/0.8 ppg) and Tom Huppe (13 games/0.5 ppg).

Ichabods on Radio
Washburn games will be broadcast on KTPK 106.9 FM radio with Jake Lebahn and Dan Lucero calling the action. Game will also be streamed live on the wusports.com website by following the listen live links on the men’s basketball schedule page.

Coaches
Washburn Ichabod head coach Brett Ballard …
• was named the Washburn Ichabod men’s basketball head coach on April 6, 2016 after spending the 2014-15 to 2016-17 seasons as an assistant coach with the Wake Forest basketball program after working under head coach Danny Manning 2014-17 seasons and at the University of Tulsa during the 2012-14 seasons.
• he helped Wake Forest to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2009-10 season following the 2016-17 season.
• while at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane played in the postseason both years, including earning a No. 13 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Tulsa also participated in the 2013 CBI, finishing that season with a winning record of 17-16 overall.
• before joining Manning at Tulsa, Ballard spent two seasons as the head basketball coach at Baker University going 33-30 overall, including a 21-12 mark in his final season at the helm in 2011-12.
• prior to taking over the head coaching position at Baker, Ballard spent seven years on Bill Self’s staff at Kansas, his alma mater.
• he played two years for the Jayhawks under head coach Roy Williams from 2000-02 after transferring from Hutchinson Community College in his hometown of Hutchinson, Kan. In his two seasons as a Jayhawk, the team reached the 2001 NCAA Sweet Sixteen and appeared in the 2002 NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.
• he earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Kansas in 2003 earning an Academic All-Big 12 selection as a senior for his efforts in the classroom.
• has never faced Northern State or Winona State.

Northern State head coach Paul Sather …
• enters in eighth year at the held for the Wolves in 2017-18. Sather, who is the 22nd head men’s basketball coach at Northern State, is a 1996 graduate of NSU. Sather has compiled an 126-78 record while at Northern.
• Prior to arriving back in Aberdeen, Sather spent five years as the head coach at Black Hills State, guiding the Yellow Jackets to a 94-62 record during his time there before returning to NSU.
• has never faced Washburn.

Winona State head coach Todd Eisner …
• is in his third season with WSU and the 2017-18 campaign will mark his 20th overall as a collegiate head coach.
• has amassed an overall record of 444-195 in 19 seasons as a head coach at the collegiate level, including a 27-29 mark leading the Warriors since the 2015-2016 campaign.
• coached at nearby Benedictine College during the 2010-11 season going 16-16 with the Ravens before moving on to Midland University for the 2011-15 seasons going 96-39 prior to taking over at Winona State starting the 2015-16 season.
• has never faced Washburn.

Last Time Out For the Ichabods
Nebraska-Kearney 75, Washburn 69 — March 2, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Washburn Ichabod basketball team came to an end as did the coach of Washburn Hall of Fame head coach Bob Chipman in a 75-69 loss to Nebraska-Kearney in the MIAA Tournament Quarterfinals. Washburn finishes the season 20-10.
Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney traded leads early as Washburn would go on to build a lead of 10 at 27-20 with 7:24 to play in the first half. However the Lopers used a 14-4 run over the next three minutes to take a 32-31 lead. After a 3-pointer by Isaac Clark put the Ichabods back in from at 34-32 with 2:05 to play, the Lopers hit one of their eight first half 3-pointers to back in front at 35-34 with 1:41 to play.
Javion Blake put the Ichabods back ahead with a bucket with 1:16 to play. Then the teams traded 3-pointers to end the half as Clark’s 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the Ichabods to the locker room with a 39-38 lead.
After leading by as many as eight in the second half, including 63-55 with 7:41 to play in the game, Brady Skeens hit a layup cutting the lead to six with 7:29 remaining. Neither team would score over the next two minutes until Skeens hit another layup with 5:04 to play cutting the Loper lead to four.
The Lopers hit another 3-pointer and then Skeens cut the lead back to five after another layup. After a pair of free throws by UNK with 52 seconds remaining pushed the lead back to six, Cameron Wiggins hit a 3-pointer cutting the lead in half, but Washburn would get no closer as UNK hit all three of its free throws down the stretch for the six-point win.
Skeens led the Ichabods with 19 points recording his 15th double double of the season with 10 rebounds adding four assists. Blake scored 16 tying a career-high seven assists and Clark had 15.
Isaiah McKay led the Lopers (20-9) with a game-high 22 points.
The Ichabods finished 45 percent from the field hitting 29 of 64 from the field while UNK was 27 of 53 for a 51 percent average. Washburn was outshot from 3-point range as the Lopers hit 13 of 31 attempts and Washburn was 5 of 14. The Ichabods attempted one free throw in the second half going 6 of 7 for the game and Nebraska-Kearney was 8 of 11.

About The Opponents
Northern State
• The Northern State University men’s basketball team was picked to both top the NSIC North Division and the league in the 2017-18 Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Wolves tallied 213 total points in the top spot, with eight first-place votes. They also tallied 48 points and six first place votes as the top pick in the North.
• The NSU men’s basketball team returns four starters from its 22-8 season in 2016-17 and one starter from the 2015-16 squad who was out due to an injury a season ago, in Darin Peterka.
• Northern returns starters Ian Smith, DJ Pollard, Bo Fries, and Logan Doyle, as well as Gabe King, Justin Decker, and Carter Evans off the bench.
• As a team the Wolves sat second in scoring offense (83.6), fourth in scoring margin (+6.8), fourth in field goal percentage (48.6), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (40.5), fifth in free throw percentage (73.8), third in offensive rebounds (10.6), second in defensive rebounds (27.9), and first in rebound margin (+6.9) in the league.
• Logan Doyle made an instant impact for the Wolves a season ago, being named the NSIC Newcomer of the Year and a NSIC First Team selection. He averaged 14.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game for the Wolves.
• Darin Peterka returns for the Wolves after a medical redshirt season. In 2015-16, Peterka was named to the NSIC All-Conference Second Team after finishing in the top-10 in the league in assists, assist/turnover ratio and steals.

Series History with Northern State
• The Ichabods have never faced Northern State.

Last time out for Northern State
(Oct. 26, 2017) — Tempe, Ariz. – The Northern State University men’s basketball team gave the Arizona State Sun Devils a run for their money in exhibition play, forcing the game into two overtime periods. The Wolves ultimately fell in the match-up 98-90, to a tough Pac-12 opponent.
Northern got into foul trouble early in the first half however battled back to keep within striking distance. Through the 50 minutes of play the two teams were tied nine times, with a total of 15 lead changes. Statistically the Wolves topped the Sun Devils in multiple categories including field goal percentage (50.0-40.5), 3-point field goal percentage (35.7-30.4), free throw percentage (94.1-67.5), rebounds (50-36), assists (22-15), and blocks (5-2).
NSU committed 31 personal fouls, resulting in 27 points off free throws for ASU, which made the difference in the game. Northern also suffered 33 turnovers, giving up 30 total points. The Wolves led the two teams with 25 points off the bench, adding 11 points off turnovers and another 11 second chance points.
Ian Smith led three scorers in double figures with 22 points. The junior went 9-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the arc while adding six rebounds, three assists, and a team leading four steals. Logan Doyle was second on the team with 18 points, while recording ten rebounds in his first double-double of the season. Doyle was perfect from the foul line with eight points, while shooting 83.3 percent from the floor. DJ Pollard added 12 points to the team total through 33 minutes of play after fouling out in the second half. Pollard was also perfect from the foul line with seven points, adding five rebounds and three assists.
Justin Decker, Darin Peterka, and Carter Evans were fourth on the team with eight points each. Evans added a team second best nine rebounds and three assists, while Decker notched three rebounds and two assists. Peterka dished out a team leading four assists, adding four rebounds as well. Bo Fries and Gabe King followed with seven and five points respectively, while Cole Dahl rounded out the team total with two.

Winona State
• The Warriors will play Missouri Western on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. before facing the Ichabods on Nov. 12 at 4 p.m.
• Winona State University was selected to finish 12th overall in the 2017-18 NSIC Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Warriors were picked to finish seventh in the South Division.
• The Warriors graduated their two top scorers from a year ago, but return the third-leading scorer, Tommy Gathje. The junior averaged 10.3 points per game and led WSU with 4.4 rebounds per game last season. He appeared in all 27 games and made 17 starts. Gathje led the team by shooting 54 percent from the field.
• Winona’s lone senior in 2017-18, Corey Jeffs, also played in every game last year and made 13 starts. Jeffs averaged 7.0 points per game to go along with 4.1 rebounds per contest.
• Juniors Mason Domask and Connor Flack each played in over 20 games for WSU last season as well. Flack started in 16 games and averaged 8.6 points per contest.
• The Warrior defense was among the league’s best last year, ranking fourth in scoring (73.6 ppg), but the offense ranked near the bottom of the NSIC at just 72.0 ppg.

Series History with Winona State
• The Ichabods have only faced Winona State once in program history but not since the 1937-38 season.
• In 1938, you could buy a new house for $3,900 … the average wage per year was $1,730 … the cost of a gallon of gas was 10 cents, a new car was $736, a loaf of bread was 9 cents and a pound of hamburger was 13 cents.

Washburn Ichabod Basketball HIstory
• The Ichabods are 1,540-1,059-2 (.592) all-time in the 114th year in the program’s history.
• Washburn is the fifth-winningest program in NCAA Division II history by victories.
• Washburn is the winningest MIAA program since the 1989-90 season with an overall record of 567-267 since joining the conference and the NCAA.
• The Ichabods have recorded 26 20-win seasons and they have one 30-win seasons after going 35-4 during the 1986-87 NAIA Championship season.
• Washburn has won 21 conference championships including 10 MIAA titles.
• Washburn has received 12 NCAA Tournament bids going to three Elite Eight’s appearing in the 2001 NCAA National Championship game.

Home Sweet Home
• The Ichabods are 422-85 (.848) all-time in Lee Arena.
• The 2017-18 season marks the 33rd season of play in Lee Arena.
• The Ichabods recorded a school-best 28-game winning streak from Nov. 19, 1993 to Feb. 8, 1995 in Lee Arena.

Up Next
• After the two games in St. Joseph, the Ichabods will open the home slate with Baker at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 in Lee Arena before heading back on the road for a game at Rockhurst on Nov. 18. Washburn will then have a non-conference game against Northwest Missouri at 8 p.m. in Kansas City at Municipal Auditorium as the final game of three joining Central Missouri versus East Central at 4 p.m. and Pittsburg State against Newman at 6 p.m.

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