Tigers hold off Thunder on Saturday

By DYLAN SWIHART

Tiger Media Network

Fort Hays State University men’s basketball hosted the Manhattan Christian College Thunder on Saturday. The Thunder played even with FHSU in the first half; however, it wasn’t enough to keep up in the second half, as the Tigers pulled away to win 75-46.

MCC shot 46% from three-point range on 7-15 shooting in the first half, helping the Thunder to enter halftime tied with FHSU 33-33. The Tigers shot just 2-9 from three for 22% in the first 20 minutes. 

“They shot the ball unbelievable [in] the first half,” FHSU Head Coach Mark Johnson said. “We gave up seven threes in one half, and when you do that, they’re going to score some points and you’re going to be in a dogfight.” 

However, the second half would be a different story, as the Tigers shot the ball at a better clip (58%) from the floor and behind the arc (33%). The Tigers defense held the Thunder to shooting just 6-33 from the floor and just 1-12 from three in the second half.

Elijah Nnanabu led the Tigers, scoring 17 points to go along with six rebounds. Nnanabu has had an up-and-down start to the season, scoring in double-figures in his first two games, but being limited to just sixt total points in his last two contests before Saturday.

“Everybody knows what I can do… I just got to come with the same mentality, go hard to the paint and make smart decisions,” Nnanabu said. “I just can’t think too much; just play with the flow of the game. It’s basketball, next play mentality.”

R.J. Crawford and Kaleb Hammeke were just behind Nnanabu, each having 13 points. For the Thunder, Dyelan Reed led the way with 15 points, followed by Jaxon Hurla with 11.

The Tigers start conference play on the road on Thursday against Northeastern State. 

“It’s a different atmosphere [on the road], you got the other people’s crowd, everybody’s cheering against you,” Nnanabu said. 

To prepare for their first road MIAA contest, Johnson has a few points of focus.

“[We will] try to prepare and be ready to go and continue to defend the way we are,” he said. “Hopefully start to shoot the ball a little bit better.”

Tipoff against the RiverHawks is set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

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