Tigers and Lions Square Off in Key MIAA and Regional Battle Tonight

Fort Hays State plays host to Lindenwood University on tonight at Gross Memorial Coliseum. The game is set to begin at 7:30 pm. FHSU enters at 16-8 overall, 10-8 in the MIAA while Lindenwood is 15-9 overall and 11-7 in the MIAA.

The Tigers currently sit in fifth place in the MIAA standings, but they are only a game back of second place, held by Lindenwood and Nebraska-Kearney. A win on Thursday would pull FHSU into a tie with Lindenwood in the standings. Teams are battling for position in the standings, looking for one of three byes remaining in the conference tournament. Northwest Missouri State has already locked up the MIAA Regular Season Championship, but second, third, and fourth place is on the line in the final two weeks of the regular season to see which teams get an automatic bye to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament in Kansas City.

Thursday’s game also has big regional implications as it features two of the top six teams in the NCAA Central Region Rankings. Fort Hays State is ranked No. 4 in the region while Lindenwood is No. 6. Teams ranked from No. 4 to No. 10 in the region are tightly grouped as the push for the NCAA Tournament begins to take shape. Lindenwood won the first meeting of the year with FHSU, so the Tigers look to even the score and stay in front of the Lions in the regional picture.

Fort Hays State is coming off a big road win at Missouri Southern last Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak on the road. It was also big in that FHSU swept MSSU in the regular season series.

Rob Davis leads the Tiger offensive attack, averaging 17.7 points per game. He has scored 20 or more points in 10 games this year. Dom Samac adds 14.6 per game and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game. Craig Nicholson leads the MIAA in assist average at 5.0 per game, while chipping in 11.3 points per game, and Jake Stoppel averages 11.0 points per game.

Lindenwood has one of the top offensive threats in the conference, Cory Arentsen, who averages 23.3 points per game. The Tigers also look to keep 7-foot, 1-inch Stanislas Heili off the boards, who averages 9.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He had 16 points and 15 rebounds against the Tigers in the first meeting.

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