BY CORA TASSET
The Fort Hays State men’s basketball team beat the Newman Jets for the second time this season; first beating them 81-75 in December and now 69-64 on Thursday. Both the Tigers and Jets could not pull away from each other, with the largest lead of the game never eclipsing six points.
FHSU senior forward Jared Vitztum finished the game with his eighth double-double of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He also added two steals, two assists, and one block against the Jets.
“Newman’s a great team and they’ve got a lot of good guards that can create their own shots and they’ve got a lot of size and athleticism,” Vitztum said. “This was one of those games where you just have to value every possession and lock in on the defensive end.”
Vitztum has been one of the top players for Fort Hays the past few years. He is currently number one in the NCAA Division II with his eighth double-double of the season. He also averages 18.4 points and 10 rebounds per game.
While FHSU defeated the Jets, they both fought hard, and there were 11 ties and 11 lead changes throughout the game.
The Tigers ended the first half in the lead against the Jets 37-36. Vitztum put up 12 points, six rebounds, one block, and one assist. Alvin Thompson added seven points, three assists, and one steal. Gilbert Peters had six points, two steals, one block, and one rebound after the first half.
“I thought Newman played really hard, and with a team like that we had to be really ready to go,” Coach Mark Johnson said. “We guarded really well and stepped up and got the stops towards the end that we really needed.”
Thompson finished wtih 13 points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Peters finished out the night with 10 points, two steals, one block, and one rebound; he also went 3-3 on field goals and 4-5 on free throws.
“Alvin was really good on the defensive end tonight and I thought the group that closed the game out did a great job as well,” Johnson said. “We have a big game coming up here on Saturday against a very talented Central Oklahoma and that is a team that’s on the rise so it’s gonna be a good game for us.”
FHSU Men’s basketball will play Central Oklahoma on Saturday, February 6th starting at 2 p.m.