By BEN JOHNSON
The losing streak is over.
Northeastern State's six-game losing skid, which started on Jan. 18, ended Saturday afternoon with a 68-59 victory over Washburn in front of 872 at the NSU Event Center.
"It's good to win," NSU coach Larry Gipson said. "I thought we played with a more unified effort tonight. We were excellent on the defensive end of the floor."
Marcus Sheppard led NSU (12-10, 7-8 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) with 16 points, and Dalen Qualls came off the bench to infuse 14 points into the RiverHawks' winning effort.
And it was Qualls' 3-pointer with 11:07 left that gave the RiverHawks the lead for good.
"Dalen was good. He came off the bench was a big contribution," Gipson said. "He hit those two 3s in the second half and those were huge for us."
Despite never leading after the 4:33 mark of the first half, Washburn (15-8, 8-8) never went away. The Ichabods were within 3 (59-56) on Leon Flowers' 3-pointer with 3:45 left, but NSU would score nine of the next 12 points to prevail.
"We haven't played very intelligently down the stretch in the last two minutes of games," Gipson said. "We've kicked games away; games that we had an opportunity to win. Give our team credit, that played together as a team."
Also working in NSU's favor against Washburn was shooting. The RiverHawks made 48.8 percent (21-of-43) of their field goals and 88.2 percent (15-of-17) of their free throws. NSU also shot 3-pointers at a 40.7 percent (11-of-27) clip.
Gipson was also elated with his team's tendency to distribute the basketball.
"We scored 21 field goals on 16 assists," Gipson said. "We were sharing the basketball a lot better."
The Ichabods finished 22-of-52 (42.3 percent) from the field.
Alex North led Washburn with 16 points, and Jeff Reid chipped in with 15. Stephon Drane was Washburn's only other scorer in double figures with 12 points.
The loss was Washburn's fourth in their last five games.
At a game below .500 in league play, NSU now trails Washburn and Emporia State by a 1/2 game each in the standings. The RiverHawks — at ninth in the MIAA — are also a full game behind Nebraska Kearney with four games left in the regular season, starting with Wednesday's home finale against Pittsburg State.
"We want to play another game here in the Event Center," Gipson said of trying to finish eighth or higher in the league to pick up a home game during the conference tournament. "It'd give the students and local fans another chance to see us play."
Women: Washburn 56, NSU 52 (OT)
Northeastern State threw up a school record 42 3-point attempts against Washburn. The problem was only 10 went in.
The RiverHawks couldn't get anything to go through the basket throughout most of the game and lost their third straight contest — and fourth straight overtime game this season.
"That was a tough one," NSU coach Randy Gipson said. "Those kind hurt."
Owning a 45-43 lead with 13 seconds left, NSU (10-12, 7-8 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) turned the ball over after failing to inbound the ball with 13 seconds left on its own end. Washburn got the ball back and capitalized.
Brittney Lynch got the ball and backed into the paint and pulled Washburn even with three seconds left. An errant attempt to beat the buzzer by NSU's Chelsey Beathard was off the mark, and the RiverHawks were heading to overtime.
"The turnover hurt us — the five-second call — we weren't as organized as good as we should have been," Gipson said of the turnover late in regulation. "It was just a bad play for us."
For Washburn coach Ron McHenry, forcing the turnover and scoring to the tie was something that hasn't happened with regularity for some of his previous teams.
"I've had a few games over 20-something years where everything you tell them on the bench, they did," McHenry said. "Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, but they executed and it worked for them."
Washburn (15-8, 10-6) controlled much of the overtime period and put NSU away late. After Beathard drained a trey to pull NSU even at 52, Washburn tallied the final four points in extra time.
Honor Duvall grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a stickback to give Washburn a 54-52 lead. Then, after Duvall missed the subsequent free-throw attempt, Casyn Buchman grabbed the offensive rebound with 19 seconds left, forcing NSU to foul Janelle Travis six seconds later.
Travis made both free throws, and NSU never threatened again.
"We didn't get the rebound on the (missed free throw)," Gipson said. "That's the ball game."
Leading the way with a career-high 15 points for NSU was Kate Bellamy, who was the only NSU player to shoot above 50 percent from the field in the game. Bellamy — the only NSU player to score in double figures — was six-of-11 from the field while the Riverhawks finished 17-of-64 (26.6 percent).
"It was a struggle all day because we didn't make shots very good," said Gipson, whose club was 10-of-42 (23.8 percent) from beyond the arc. "But we felt like we should have been ahead by a lot more than what we were, but we were still in control of the game. We just didn't finish."
Lynch led Washburn with 16 points on an eight-of-14 effort from the floor. Taylor Ignoto came off the bench to toss in 14 points for Washburn, which shot 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the field.
Men: NSU 68, Washburn 59
Wash 24 35 - 59
NSU 30 38 - 68
Washburn (15-7, 8-7): Alex North 16, Jeff Reid 15, Stephon Drane 12, Wiggins 6, Flowers 6, Deanes 4.
NSU (12-10, 7-8): Marcus Sheppard 16, Dalen Qualls 14, Bryton Hobbs 11, DeMasters 8, McDonald 7, Littleton 6, Evans 4, Harmon 2.
Women: Washburn 56, NSU 52, OT
Wash 19 26 11 - 56
NSU 27 18 7 - 52
Washburn (15-8, 10-6): Brittney Lynch 16, Taylor Ignoto 14, Travis 8, Duvall 6, Lee 4, Buchman 4, Channel 4.
NSU (10-12, 7-8): Kate Bellamy 15, Tate 9, Beathard 9, Cowan 8, Jackson 4, Walker 3, Fox 2, Lewis 2.
NSU hoops notebook
Carrington sets school record in loss: NSU senior Carrington Fox finished with six blocks in an overtime loss to Washburn on Saturday, but she managed to set a school record along the way.
Fox now has 124 blocks in her career at NSU, putting her atop the school's all-time list. She passed Gaile Cook, who had 121 from 1989 to 1991.
"She's been a stellar defender for us," NSU coach Randy Gipson said. "She plays with great effort and great presence on the defensive end. She's deserving of any record that she can set."
Hobbs, Gipson have a chat: NSU guard Bryton Hobbs didn't attempt a field goal in the first half of NSU's win on Saturday. He scored two points by shooting two free throws that came via a technical foul on Washburn.
Early in the second half, Hobbs was pulled from the game while Matt Logan went in. With Hobbs sitting next to head coach Larry Gipson, Hobbs appeared to be having a heart-to-heart with Gipson.
However, Gipson wouldn't reveal any details.
"That's a coach-player issue that I'm not going to discuss," Gipson said.
Hobbs went back in the game with 13:04 left and played the rest of the game. He finished with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds.