Rally comes up short as Tigers fall, 70-68, to No. 10 Concordia-St. Paul

Fort Hays State University rallied late but came up two points short of a Top 10 upset, falling to No. 10 Concordia-St. Paul, 70-68, on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the Radisson Hotel Roseville Classic in St. Paul, Minn.

A physical game that saw a combined 53 fouls called, the Tigers (1-1) lost the rebounding battle, 44-34 and were undone by CU’s 46.8 percent field goal percentage.  FHSU shot 32.3 percent from the field and were much improved from the free throw line, hitting 20-of-29 (69 percent).

FHSU’s largest lead of the night came early in the first (17:17) after a jumper from Keriann Shaw made it 3-0.  The Golden Bears answered to tie it at 5-all before climbing to an 8-5 lead.  A three-pointer from Chelsea Mason stopped a 5-0 burst for CU and set in motion back-and-forth play that brought the game near the six-minute mark with FHSU trailing, 23-21.  At that point, CU pulled away on a 9-3 run to take a 32-24 lead.

A three-pointer from Mason stopped the spurt, and two free throws by the Golden Bears sent the game to the break with FHSU trailing, 34-27.

Out of the pause, a three-pointer from CU’s Amanda Barton gave the Golden Bears their largest lead of the night (10), 37-27, but Bohuslavsky answered with a jumper of her own at 18:47 to start the Tigers climb back into contention. Over the next 6:40 of game time, FHSU doubled up CU in scoring (14-7) to cut the deficit to one, eventually taking the lead on a jumper from Nikola Kacperska (47-46) at 10:11.

FHSU stayed close over the next five minutes of action, when Shaw’s free throw at 5:36 gave FHSU its final lead of the night (54-53), as CU answered on free throws from Lauren Shiflett less than 30 seconds later to start an 8-2 run for the Golden Bears, during which six points came from Anika Whiting.  CU soon stretched that lead to eight (65-57) with 2:17 to play in the game, but the Tigers would not go quietly.

Free throws from Kate Lehman brought the game to 67-61, the pressing defense of Beth Bohuslavsky yielded a steal and two free throws for FHSU – shrinking the deficit to four with 1:16 on the clock.  The Tigers forced another turnover less than 10 seconds later – this time coming on a steal for Shaw, but three missed field goals on the ensuing possession (which lasted over 30 seconds) proved fatal for FHSU.

After a foul, CU’s Ameshia Kearney made just one of two free throws with 21 seconds to go, Bohuslavsky raced down the court to hit a layup (68-65) with 15 seconds to go, but Mishayla Jones’ free throws on the other end put CU back up by five (70-65). As time expired, Bohuslavsky found the net on a three-pointer, sending the game to final at 70-68.

FHSU forced 23 turnovers and scored 15 points off turnovers in the game, totaling nine steals as a team.

Bohuslavsky led the Tigers with 16 points on the evening, adding two assits with two steals while playing a team-high 32 minutes.  Chelsea Mason (13 points) and Nikola Kacperska (10 points) were the other Tigers to hit double-digits, as each added two assists.  Kacperska’s three steals was tied for the team-lead with Shaw, who had six points and four rebounds.

Lehman fell just short of a double-double in her second consecutive game – scoring nine points with 10 rebounds in the loss (after scoring 24 points with nine rebounds on Friday evening). She was voted to the All-Tournament Team for her performance on the weekend, joining Lizzy Jeronimus (Pittsburg State), Kylie Gafford (Pittsburg State), Mishayla Jones (CU) and Whiting (voted most valuable player) on the honor roll.

Fort Hays State hosts McPherson College this week for its home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 19.  Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. from Gross Memorial Coliseum.

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