Fort Hays State held off several bursts from Lincoln in the second half to win 88-85 on Saturday (Jan. 11) at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays. The win gave head coach Mark Johnson the 258th of his career, becoming the all-time wins leader among coaches in the history of FHSU men's basketball.
Johnson passed Cade Suran for the all-time lead in wins at FHSU. Suran coached at FHSU for 18 seasons from 1946-65.
Lincoln hit the first basket of the game before FHSU went on an 11-0 run at the start of the game. The Tigers would lead the entire remainder of the game, but not without constant pressure from the Blue Tigers. The lead reached 13 with 7:04 to go in the first half, but a 19-8 run by Lincoln trimmed the lead all the way down to two with 2:03 remaining before intermission. FHSU closed out the half with an 11-2 run to push its lead back to 11 at 48-37 at the break.
Fort Hays State's lead moved to 14 points three times early in the second half, but the Tigers could never put the game away. Lincoln kept chipping away, bringing the lead back inside eight with 7:30 remaining in the game. With the Tigers shooting lights out at the free-throw line for nearly the entire game, the game appeared secure with 1:38 remaining with FHSU leading by 13. Lincoln though would close the game on a frantic 12-2 run to fall by just three points.
Fort Hays State as a team was a perfect 29-of-29 at the free-throw line until Craig Nicholson missed the back end of a pair with 6:23 to go in the game. Nicholson up until that miss was a perfect 16-of-16. Nicholson would go on to tie the single-game school record for free-throws made in a game with 19, matching Sam McDowell who had 19 in a game in 1963-64. Nicholson finished 19-of-23 at the stripe. The 23 attempts was just one shy of a single-game record at FHSU.
Fort Hays State finished 87.5 percent overall from the free-throw line, hitting 35-of-40 attempts. The Tigers missed four of their last five attempts and were at 97.1 percent (34-of-35) until the final 1:21 of the game.
Nicholson went on to lead the Tigers with 27 points. He added a team-high eight assists. Dwayne Brunson was just one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds. Tomislav Gabric finishing with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and a 5-of-5 effort at the free-throw line. Gabric was one of four Tigers to finish the game perfect at the line.
Joshua Buie led Lincoln with 27 points, followed by Charles Cole with 24. Lincoln dropped to 2-13 overall and 0-7 in the MIAA.
Fort Hays State finished 54.2 percent from the field, but the 3-point field goal struggles continued, going just 1-of-10 beyond the arc. The Blue Tigers used 3-point shooting to keep in the game, hitting 9-of-18 attempts to go along with a 50.9 overall percentage from the field.
The Tigers are now 12-3 overall and 4-3 in the MIAA heading into the home/away portion of the MIAA schedule against all the teams on the west side of the conference. FHSU will play each of the six teams twice and just one non-conference game remains on the schedule with South Dakota Mines on Jan. 23 in Hays.
Fort Hays State pushed its win streak to three games with a 98-54 victory over Lincoln on Saturday in Hays, Kan.
FHSU improved to 11-2 (5-2 MIAA) on the season, while Lincoln dropped to 3-11 (0-7 MIAA).
Chelsea Mason broke the 20-point barrier for the third consecutive game, finishing the night with 24 points and five rebounds. 20 of Mason's points came in the first half.
Kate Lehman had her streak of nine consecutive double-doubles halted, just missing the mark after finishing with 11 rebounds, nine points and six blocks. Lehman achieved her first-ever triple-double in the Tigers' previous game (against Lindenwood).
Katelyn Edwards showed a balanced approach throughout the night, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two assists, hitting on 10-of-12 free throw attempts.
Taylor Chandler finished the afternoon with 10 points and two assists, complimenting Jill Faxon's eight points and four assists. Beth Bohuslavsky (four assists) matched Faxon for the team-lead in assists, and the Dwight, Neb., native pulled down five rebounds and hit on two 3-pointers for six points.
At 17:39 in the first half, Chelsea Mason hit a 3-pointer to start a run of 13 straight for the Tigers that lasted over three minutes. That run was snapped at 14:30, when Lincoln's Lizzie Neslling hit two free throws to put the game at 19-7 just after the first media timeout.
Soon after, leading 19-8, the Tigers started an 11-2 run that brought the game inside the 10-minute mark, leading 31-10. Edwards and Mason had three points during that span.
FHSU held Lincoln scoreless over the final 3:58 of the first half, running off 12 unanswered to send the teams to the break at 54-18.
Out of the half, Lincoln answered with a burst of its own - pulling within 30 at the 15:39 mark. LU outscored the Tigers, 10-5 during that span, including a run of five unanswered. The Tigers, however, woke up to put the game away over the next two minutes, pushing the lead to 37 with a 7-0 run of their own.
The Tigers' largest lead of the night came with 46 seconds remaining, when Alyssa Palmer hit her second 3-pointer of the second half and put the game at 98-52.
FHSU is on the road next week for a two-game swing through Edmond, Okla. (Thursday, Jan. 16) and Pittsburg, Kan. (Saturday, Jan. 18), as the team faces Central Oklahoma and Pittsburg State, respectively.