KANSAS CITY (KSNT) – Washburn men’s basketball defeated Emporia State for the third time this season on Friday night and this one carried extra value.

The 88-81 win advances the Ichabods to the MIAA tournament semi-finals. WU is hoping for two more wins to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The game was back and forth the entire first half. The two teams were locked even at eight after five minutes of play. They were tied again at 17 at the halfway point of the first half. The trend continued as neither team gave an inch and it was tied 35-35 at halftime.

The second half was no less of a fight. ESU grabbed a six point lead in the first four minutes, but Washburn answered with a 7-0 run in 1:12 of game time to take the lead themselves. The ‘Bods grabbed their own six point lead shortly after and led by as many as 13 at one point.

Emporia State didn’t give in here. A 12-3 Hornet run pulled ESU within three with 3:04 to play. Three points is as close as Doty’s team would get though as Washburn secured the seven-point win.

Tray Buchanan, who injured his foot in the Hornets last game on Saturday, March 5 did return to play for ESU and posted 22 points. Jumah’Ri Turner matched him and then some, scoring 23. Kaden Evans 12 points and ten from Brenden Van Dyke rounded out four Hornets in double figures.

Washburn did one better. Jalen Lewis and Tyler Geiman each scored 20. Connor Deffenbaugh, Michael Keegan and Jonny Clausing all scored eleven or more, making it five ‘Bods in double digits on the score sheet. Keegan and Clausing also cleaned up the boards, grabbing seven and eight, respectively.

Washburn will play Central Oklahoma at 6 p.m. on Saturday.