It might have been Jonny Clausing's best game as a Washburn Ichabod.
But the 19-point, 11-rebound performance the Augusta sophomore turned in during Washburn's 86-76 victory over Missouri Western on Thursday night wasn't a shocker to Ichabod men's coach Brett Ballard. Not one bit.
"We've seen that in practice from him," Ballard said. "He's been one of, if not our best players a lot of days in practice. I was just happy for him to show it out here in a game."
Getting a career night from Clausing, a near-career night from junior guard Drew Maschoff, Washburn was able to fight off a second-half charge from the visiting Griffons and win its second straight game after a two-week holiday layoff.
The Ichabods saw a 10-point lead disappear in the second half as Western rallied and reclaimed a brief lead ith nine-plus minutes left. But Washburn regrouped with a decisive 15-2 run and in ending Western's three-game winning streak, the Ichabods improved to 8-5 overall and 3-1 in MIAA play while Western fell to 7-9, 3-2.
After rallying late in last Saturday's win over Emporia State, Washburn played from ahead after an 18-5 run to finish the fiirst half put the Ichabods up 46-36. Maschoff was huge in the half, scoring 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 at the free thrown line.
He scored 12 during the closing run in the half.
"I felt good with the ball in my hands," Maschoff said. "I just kept the pressure on, kept attacking the basket and good things happened. I just felt good today and felt like I could get to the rim a lot and kept on doing it."
Maschoff cooled a bit in the second half, finishing with 23 points — one shy of tying his career-high of 24 set against Tampa in mid-December. But though his scoring tapered off, his defense on Western standout guard Tyrell Carroll didn't.
Though Carroll finished with 23 points, he needed 24 shots to get it and was just 2 of 7 from 3-point range.
"We weren't in a very good offensive rhythm early and he kind of got us going," Ballard said. "He's coming along offensively and I'm really proud of him on both ends of the court because he was guarding their best player and that's exhausting."
Clausing, meanwhile, took over where Maschoff left off. After scoring nine in the first half, Clausing scored six points early in the second half that helped keep Western at a distance and match his career-high. He broke it with two free throws at the 7:49 mark that gave Washburn the lead for good and capped his big night with a follow shot with 5:01 to play.
"I was just playing with confidence and playing hard," Clausing said. "I just needed to play hard and do what I could for the team. I have been struggling but I've been working hard every day to get my confidence. I felt like I could take advantage of their guys inside."
Hot 3-point shooting carried Western to an early lead and got the Griffons back in the game in the second half. Three-pointers by Tyus Millhollin and Will Eames keyed an 10-0 run that erased Washburn's lead and put Westeern up 60-58 with 10:40 to play.
Washburn answered with a Jalen Lewis three to regain the lead, but Western got a three-point play from Carroll to back on top. Lewis again had an answer, tying the game with a long jumper and Washburn took over from there.
The rally to get back took something out of the Griffons, who missed seven of their final eight 3-point attempts. Clausing's free throws with 7:49 left put Washburn up for good and the Ichabods took advantage of two Western technicals and 7-of-8 free throw shooting during the decisive 15-2 run, capped by a nifty behind-the-back feed from Maschoff to Tyler Geiman for a layup that made it 76-65.
Western got within four with 1:01 to go, but Washburn hit 10 of 10 free throws in the last 1:14 to seal it.
"We had emphasized recently getting out to better starts," Ballard said. "It was good to see our guys come out and play well in that first half. You build that lead and give Western a ton of credit, they didn't quit. They've got some competitors over there.
"We kind of withstood some blows and I was really proud of our poise in the last six or seven minutes to build that lead back up."
In addition to Maschoff's 23 and Clausing's 19, Washburn got 14 points from Geiman and 10 apiece from Lewis and Rathen Carter. Millhollin had 22 and Eames 14 for Western, the two combining to go 9 of 23 from 3-point range.
WASHBURN MEN 86, MISSOURI WESTERN 76
Missouri Western (7-9, 3-2) — Martin 4-6 1-4 9, Eames 5-13 0-0 14, Carroll 10-24 1-2 23, Millhollin 7-16 3-5 22, Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Glover 0-5 0-0 0, John 2-4 0-0 4, Thames 2-4 0-1 4, Chukwuemeke 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-73 5-12 76.
Washburn (8-5, 3-1) — Clausing 8-9 3-7 19, Maschoff 7-14 8-8 23, Deffebaugh 2-5 0-0 4, Geiman 3-13 6-6 14, Lewis 3-5 3-4 10, Carter 2-6 4-4 10, Nelson 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-1 1-2 1, Biggs 2-5 1-1 5. Totals 27-58 26-32 86.
Halftime score — Washburn 46, Western 36. 3-point goals — Western 11-36 (Millhollin 5-14, Eames 4-9, Carroll 2-7, Glover 0-5, Thames 0-1); Washburn 6-20 (Geiman 2-6, Carter 2-4, Maschoff 1-4, Lewis 1-3, Biggs 0-1, Deffebaugh 0-2). Rebounds — Western 36 (Eames 9); Washburn 49 (Clausing 11). Assists — Western 14 (Carroll 5); Washburn 14 (Geiman 7). Turnovers — Western 11, Washburn 17. Total fouls — Western 25, Washburn 17. Fouled out — Western: John, Eames. Technicals — Western: John, Carroll.