HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State senior guard Craig Nicholson broke a school record on Thursday night (Feb. 18) in a 64-56 win over Lindenwood University. The Wichita senior hit 9-of-12 free-throws in the game to pass Mark Wilson for the all-time record in free-throws made at Fort Hays State, now with 451 in his career. Nicholson continues to leave his mark as one of the all-time greats in Fort Hays State men’s basketball history.
Nicholson continues to soar up the all-time lists at Fort Hays State in several categories. He is only the second player in FHSU history to record 600 career assists as he reached that mark at Pittsburg State back on February 11 with a season-high 11 against the Gorillas. He will finish behind Raymond Lee on the all-time list, who had 899 in 145 career games, but will join Lee as two of the greatest point guards in school history. Nicholson currently owns a better assists per game average (6.4) than Lee did as Nicholson has played in just 94 games in his career. Lee played on two NAIA National Championship teams and averaged 36 games per year, where as Nicholson plays under the NCAA Division II model where only 26 games are guaranteed each year. Plus, Nicholson missed the final 13 games of the 2014-15 season and five this year due to injury as FHSU has only averaged 29 games per year in his stint with the program.
Nicholson is now seventh on the all-time scoring list at FHSU with 1,372 points, averaging 14.6 per game in his career. He also has a career free-throw percentage of .797, which would rank seventh on the all-time list at FHSU if the season were already complete. Nicholson has 156 career steals, just three shy of second place on the all-time list at FHSU.
Nicholson has also left his mark on the single-season record lists at FHSU. During the 2013-14 season in which he earned All-America honors, Nicholson buried a record 190 free-throws. It was also a year in which he dished out 222 assists, which is third-most for a single season, but he broke his own assists per game record averaging 7.4 per game. He set the record at 6.9 as a freshman in 2012-13.
Nicholson is the only four-year senior on this year’s team as he will be recognized along with Jake Stoppel, Dom Samac, and Kenny Enoch on Saturday (Feb. 20) in the final regular season home contest of the season. Stoppel has seen his production increase in his three years with the program with 654 career points (8.1 per game) and 413 rebounds (5.1 per game). He has also been rock-solid at the free-throw line with a .798 career percentage. Over two years, Samac has scored 665 points (12.3 per game) and pulled down 322 rebounds (6.0 per game). Enoch is in his only season with the Tigers and has scored 175 points this year, which includes 33 three-point field goals.
It may be the last chance for Tiger fans to see these four play inside Gross Memorial Coliseum as the Tigers are in the race for a first-round bye to the MIAA Tournament in Kansas City. The top four teams in the standings claim the first-round byes for the tournament.
Fort Hays State enters Saturday in the thick of the regional rankings picture for berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are currently No. 4 in the region rankings and picked up a win over No. 6 Lindenwood on Thursday night. The Tigers host Lincoln University (13-12, 9-10 MIAA) at 4 pm.