Tigers blow by Threshers in home opener


Fort Hays State opened the 50th year of basketball at Gross Memorial Coliseum with a 90-59 win over Bethel College on Thursday evening (Nov. 17). The Tigers reserves accounted for more than half of the team’s points, led by a 21-point performance from newcomer Jaheim Holden.

The Tigers never trailed, opening the game on a 7-0 run. Bethel hit a pair of 3-point field goals to get back within one, but FHSU worked its way to a 43-20 halftime lead. At the break, Holden had 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-of-3 beyond the 3-point line. He also had a pair of free throws. Starter Elijah Nnanabu trailed close behind with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the opening half, hitting both of his 3-point field goal attempts and three of four charity shots.

Bethel never could close the gap any closer than 19 points the remainder of the game, reached three times in the second half. FHSU closed the game on a 26-14 run to make the final margin 31. The Tigers’ largest lead was 33 when Geoff Hamperian slammed home a fast break dunk on an assist from Lucas Hammeke with 1:16 to go.

Holden finished 6-of-10 from the field and 6-of-6 at the free-throw line for his 21 points. Nnanabu was nearly perfect from the field for the night, going 7-of-8. Coupled with his three first-half free-throws, he finished with 19 points. Kaleb Hammeke also reached double figures with 13 points and a team-best four assists. Nnanabu was the high rebounder for the Tigers with seven.

Aside from Holden’s 21 to lead the Tiger reserves, Traejon Davis added nine, Haggan Hilgendorf had eight, Gilbert Peters had six, and Hamperian finished with four.

Fort Hays State finished at 51.7 percent from the field (30-of-58), and a strong 52.9 percent beyond the 3-point line (9-of-17). The Tigers were solid at the free-throw line for the third straight game, going 21-of-24 (87.5 percent).

Fort Hays State continued its trend of holding the opposition under 60 points for the third straight game to open the season. FHSU opponents are averaging just 55.7 points per game.

Clifford Byrd II led the Threshers with 10 points, and he tied for a team-high four rebounds with Harper Jonas. Byrd was also the top assister for BC with four. Bethel was held to 35.3 percent shooting for the game.

Fort Hays State gets a couple days of rest before taking on MSU Denver on Sunday (Nov. 20) at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

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