Anyone at Gross Memorial Coliseum on Saturday could see late in the game vs Washburn that the #24 ranked Fort Hays State men were tired.
“You’re 100% right on that,” said sophomore Craig Nicholson. “I know my legs were done and I’m sure all the other guards were tired, too.”
By the time a 17 point lead had evaporated and the Tigers were forced onto their second overtime in as many days, who could blame them. But at key moments FHSU reached down team to make plays when they needed them. They got a key block from Dwayne Brunson, a big game tying three Carson Konrade in overtime and yet they still found themselves tied with the Ichabods as time was winding down in the overtime period.
With 2 second left in the extra period, the Tigers had the final shot to win it.
“I looked at Dwyane before the play and he was like give me the ball,” said Nicholson.
Nicolson inbounded the ball to Brunson who was wide open just above the free throw line. The senior center buried the jumper.
“That shot for me is like shooting a free throw,” said Brunson. “I knew they were going to be watching Carson Konrade, so I just told (Nicholson) too look for me at the foul line. He did and sure enough I delivered.”
Though the Tigers thought the game was over. It wasn’t quite. The officials put .04 seconds on the clock. But any hope Washburn had of getting a shot off, was dashed when Nicholson jumped in front of the in bounds pass sealing the 87-85 victory in OT.
“Obviously you are proud of them for their resiliency and how they battled though,” said head coach Mark Johnson. "We made bis shots late, I mean obviously Dwyane's shot to win it, but Carson hit a three was every bit as pivotal."
Fort Hays has now played six overtime games, which is a new MIAA record. Nicholson led the scoring with 23 points and James Flemming added 17 off the bench.
Fort Hays State women 69, Washburn 62
For the first time since the 94-95 season, the Lady Tigers have pulled off the season sweep of Washburn and Emporia State. Though Saturday’s game settled on a seven point margin, Fort Hays State appeared in control from start to finish.
“Our defense was good enough that they were having a hard time scoring on us,” said head coach Tony Hobson. “An eight point lead in this game seemed like it was larger than in most. But at the same time when they came back and tied it up in the second half, I think some teams past would have panicked a little bit. But this group is totally different.”
The Tigers played most of the first half without center and leading scorer Kate Lehman who picked up two quick fouls. Other players stepped up in her absence.
“When you have a player like that who is sitting out with two fouls everyone has to step up,” said senior Kate Edwards. “
Edwards finished with 8 points and 14 rebounds. Lehman lead the way with 14 points in just 17 minutes. Nicola Kacperska and Tera Ingelsbe also finished in double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively.