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Unbeaten Newman knocks off No. 2 Washburn

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at 8:35 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, at 7:31 a.m.

Newman’s Frankie Drayton, with a head full of steam, came barreling toward a loose ball that it appeared he had no chance of getting to late in the second half of Saturday’s game against No. 2 Washburn.

As three Ichabods bent down to grab the ball, Drayton launched himself, headfirst, skimming across the surface at Fugate Gymnasium toward what seemed like sure disaster.

In one motion, he snagged the ball, flipped himself over and signaled for a timeout, giving the Jets the ball.

It was the kind of play that defined Newman’s upset — an 86-69 win that completed the Jets’ sweep of Kansas’ four MIAA schools and pushed the Jets to 9-0 with one game left before the break.

It was the first loss of the season for Washburn, the coaches’ preseason MIAA favorite, and the highest-ranked opponent the Jets have beaten since moving to NCAA Division II in 2006.

“Because of plays like that, like what Frankie did, that’s how you get a chance to beat a team like Washburn that’s the real deal,” Newman coach Mark Potter said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this group of men.”

Newman never trailed against Washburn, and led 45-37 at halftime after hitting 6 of 13 three-pointers in the first half and putting the clamps on All-American guard Will McNeill, who would finish with 20 points but shot just 3 of 7 from the field.

“In everyone else’s eyes, we were supposed to lose this game,” said Newman guard Darrell Traylor, who tied for the team lead with 15 points. “Not in our eyes, though. Everyone else.”

Washburn got as close as 62-56 with 8:30 left in the second half, but a Trae Beck three-pointer put the Jets up 66-57 one minute later, and Drayton’s headfirst slide came with five minutes to play and Newman ahead 72-62, sending the sold-out crowd of 1,150 into a frenzy.

“Mark Potter had his team ready, he got everything out of every player he put on the floor tonight,” Washburn coach Bob Chipman said. “That’s what coaching is all about. Great night for Newman, great win for Newman.”

On Washburn’s next possession, Newman guard Bobby Wesley stole the ball, pushed it up the floor and hit Shamar Acuay, a 6-foot guard, with a no-look pass and Acuay hammered home a one-handed dunk for a 74-62 lead.

Acuay finished with 15 points. Josh Pleasant added 13 points for Newman and Marquis Cuyler was the other Jet in double figures with 11 points.

“We’ve got a saying, ‘NFC’ which means ‘Never Fear Competition’ which is something we’ve been telling each other since last year, even,” Acuay said. “No matter if you’re ranked or not or what place you’re in, we’re going to come at you. We’re going to stick together no matter what.”

Newman outrebounded Washburn 40-33.

“We didn’t take Newman as seriously as we should have and coasted in practice this week,” McNeill said. “They played extremely well in front of a big crowd.”

Newman junior center Ryan Mesh, a Hutchinson native in his fourth year with the Jets after redshirting, was left almost speechless when asked about how it felt to beat Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State and Washburn all in one season.

“It’s … a once-in-a-lifetime thing, the last three years we’d get one win, maybe two, and the others would beat us,” Mesh said. “But we’re different this year. We’re a different team.”

WASHBURN: Chipman 1-5 5-8 7, Riggins 4-5 1-1 9, McNeill 3-7 14-17 20, Wiggins 3-6 2-4, Mitchell 4-14 2-4 10, Henry 1-6 0-0 2, Ulsaker 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 2-3 0-0 4, North 3-6 1-2 9, Flowers 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 21-54 25-37 69.

NEWMAN: Cuyler 5-8 0-0 11, Mesh 2-5 2-4 6, Beck 3-8 0-0 9, Wesley 1-6 2-2 4, Traylor 3-4 6-8 15, Acuay 5-8 5-16 15, Drayton 1-5 4-4 7, Pleasant 5-5 3-7 13, McCarthy 0-1 2-2 2, Thomas 0-1 0-2 0, Waldron 0-4 1-2 1, Falvo 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 26-56 25-37 86.

Halftime—Newman 45, Washburn 37. T hree-point shooting—Washburn 2-16 (North 2-4, Chipman 0-2, McNeill 0-2, Mitchell 0-5, Henry 0-1, Ulsaker 0-1, Flowers 0-1); Newman 9-23 (Traylor 3-3, Beck 3-5, Cuyler 1-3, Drayton 1-3, Falvo 1-1, Waldron 0-2, McCarthy 0-1, Wesley 0-2). Rebounds—Washburn 33 (Chipman 7); Newman 40 (Pleasant 7, Traylor 7). Assists—Washburn 17 (Mitchell 4); Newman 17 (Wesley 6). Technical fouls—Newman, Cuyler; Washburn, North. A—1,150.

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