By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
DENVER – Bjarni Jonsson hit a 3-point field goal as time expired in regulation to force overtime, but the Tigers could not find comeback magic for a second time in the extra period, falling 75-71 at MSU Denver on Sunday (Nov. 19). The Roadrunners moved to 4-0 overall, notching their second straight win over a Top 25 ranked opponent, while the D2CSC No. 16 ranked Tigers took their first loss of the season now at 2-1 overall.
MSU Denver opened the game on a 7-1 burst before FHSU used an 8-0 to take its first lead at 9-7. After initially being down by six, FHSU’s overall run reached 19-6 when Kaleb Hammeke hit a 3-point field goal to push the Tiger lead to 20-13. However, the Roadrunners chipped away with a 15-5 run to take the lead back by three points, but Jaheim Holden evened the score by burying a 3-point field goal. MSU Denver big man Caleb McGill scored the final five points of the first half to give the Roadrunners a 33-28 lead at the break.
Jonsson hit a 3-point field goal to get the Tigers back within three early in the second half, but some careless passing by the Tigers led to the Roadrunners eventually pushing their lead to double digits. The lead reached 14 points with 7:50 remaining in the game, but the Tigers would not go quietly.
Holden was big for the Tigers in the second half, scoring five points in a 9-0 run to get the lead back down to four with just under three minutes to play. Holden hit another jumper and Lucas Hammeke added a free throw to trim the lead to three, and after a tough Roadrunner bucket, Jonsson buried a pair of free throws to get the margin back to three. The Tigers put on a trapping defense to speed up the Roadrunners and it worked, forcing a travel to get the ball back with 28 seconds. The Tigers worked the ball around looking for an open shot, but Holden eventually found Jonsson in the right corner who buried a three to tie the game as time expired.
MSU Denver opened the extra frame on an 8-0 run as FHSU missed its first five field goal attempts after the crucial game-tying shot in regulation. A Conner Landelllayup snapped the MSU Denver run and triggered an 8-2 run for FHSU. Kaleb Hammeke hit a pair of crucial 3-point field goals in the run to get the Tigers back within two with a little over a minute to play. The Tigers trailed by three again with just over 30 seconds to play and forced another turnover out of the Roadrunners. However, this time the Tigers turned the ball over looking for a shot and MSU Denver went on to make one of two free throws that made the final margin of four, 75-71.
Holden led the Tigers with 19 points and five assists, going 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-7 beyond the 3-point line. Kaleb Hammeke also reached double figures by scoring 13 points. Hammeke tied Shaun Riley for the team lead in rebounds with five each.
Brayden Maldonado led the MSU Denver effort with 21 points and five assists, hitting 8-of-13 field goal attempts with a 3-of-3 effort at the free-throw line. Mario Lacy, who scored the first six points of overtime for MSU Denver, finished with 14 points. McGill also reached double figures in scoring with 15 points. Lacy had a double-double, adding 16 rebounds.
Fort Hays State will host Central Christian College for its first home game of the 2023-24 season on Tuesday (Nov. 21). Tipoff is set for noon at Gross Memorial Coliseum.