HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State pulled out a physical battle in Hays on Thursday night (Feb. 18) over Lindenwood by a score of 64-56. The Tigers, ranked No. 4 in the Central Region, picked up a big win over the No. 6 team in the region and pulled the Lions into a tie with them for fourth place in the MIAA standings. FHSU improved to 17-8 overall, 11-8 in the MIAA, while Lindenwood went to 15-10 overall and 11-8 in the MIAA.
In a slowed down possession style game, the Tigers were the first to hit double figures on the scoreboard at the 11:58 mark of the first half with a 10-8 lead. From the 7:25 to 4:10 marks of the first half, FHSU used an 11-0 run to gain a lead of 12. But Lindenwood countered with a 7-2 run to close the half and FHSU led by seven at halftime, 29-22.
Lindenwood kept chipping away at the lead early in the second half cutting the lead to two points twice, but FHSU never gave the lead away. Lindenwood kept the FHSU lead lower than eight points from the 16:02 to 7:03 marks before a three-point play by Dom Samac pushed the lead back to eight.
A key juncture in the game occurred with 4:04 remaining in the game. FHSU point guard Craig Nicholson was flagrantly fouled by Lindenwood point guard Brad Newman. Nicholson sunk a pair of free-throws to push the lead back to eight and Jake Stoppel was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free-throws to push the lead to nine. Lindenwood cut the lead back to four with 1:45 to go in the game, but that’s as close as it would get. FHSU hit free-throws down the stretch and survived the stiff test from Lindenwood.
Kenny Enoch was magnificent on defense for FHSU in the first half, shutting down one of the top offensive threats in the conference. Cory Arentsen went scoreless in the opening half with Enoch covering him tightly. Enoch recorded two blocked shots against Arentsen in the early going. Arentsen entered the game averaging about 23 points per game, but he found his late in the second half and finished with 14. No other Lindenwood player scored in double figures.
Rob Davis led the Tigers with 16 points and six rebounds. Craig Nicholson had 14 and Dom Samac added 12. Fort Hays State overcame 36.5 percent shooting from the field by forcing 16 turnovers. The Tigers turned it over only four times. FHSU outscored Lindenwood 21-5 on points off turnovers.
The Tigers return to action on Saturday in the last home game of the regular season. FHSU hosts Lincoln University for senior day at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Game time is set for 4 pm.
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