Fort Hays State edged Central Missouri by a score of 67-66 in Hays on a tip-in by Karron McKenzie with two seconds remaining on Saturday afternoon. Down by one, the Tigers forced a jump ball on Central Missouri's in-bounds pass to get the ball back and that set up the final-second heroics by McKenzie. Fort Hays State moved to 16-6 overall and 10-6 in the MIAA, while Central Missouri moved to 16-6 overall and 12-5 in the MIAA.
After struggling on offense in the first half to just 29.2 percent shooting from the field, the Tigers trailed by seven at halftime by a score of 36-29. FHSU heated up quickly out of the break, going on a 12-2 run to open the half. That gave FHSU a 41-38 lead with 15:04 to go.
Central Missouri made two straight baskets to take the lead back, but FHSU went on a 13-5 run from that point to push its advantage to seven with 8:50 remaining. But the Mules would not die and kept chipping away at the Tiger lead until they took the lead back on a Dominique Long 3-point field goal to make it 60-59 with 3:26 to play. Another bucket gave the Mules a three-point advantage with 2:40 to play.
The Tigers pulled within one point twice before a pair of free-throws by Boo Hunter of Central Missouri made the score 66-63 with 20 seconds to play. Instead of settling for a 3-pointer or long jumper, Moses Dayee slashed to the basket along the baseline with 14 seconds remaining to pull the Tigers back within one.
That's when the Tigers created their opportunity to win the game. The Tigers trapped Hunter in the corner on the inbounds out of a timeout and Lance Russell tied him up for a jump ball. Fort Hays State had the possession arrow.
The Tigers had 10 seconds remaining for their final play. McKEnzie drove baseline and missed a tightly contested layup in close, but the ball was tipped in the air to Matt Simmons, who shot from the mid lane and missed. However, McKenzie stayed active and tipped the rebound up in the air and in the basket to give the Tigers the winning basket. The Mules had one last shot by Hunter from about seven feet beyond the 3-point line at the end of the game, but it was too strong as the Tigers held on in thrilling fashion.
Simmons had a great all-around effort for the Tigers posting the seventh double-double of his career at FHSU with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He also added two assists, two blocked shots and two steals.
Kendrick Mores and Dayee each reached double figures. Morse finished with 13 and Dayee had 12, each hitting two 3-point field goals in the game. Omar McDade finished with 10, burying two huge buckets late in the second half to keep the Tigers in the game. McDade also had a great all-around effort with seven assists and five steals.
Fort Hays State built a 12-point halftime lead and cruised to a 68-51 win over Central Missouri on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. The Lady Tigers upped their record to 17-7 and 9-7 in the MIAA, where the Tigers currently rank fifth behind the Jennies, who are fourth at 11-6 in the MIAA.
Three Lady Tigers scored in double figures with senior guard Crista Bechard leading the way with 16 points, which included 11 in the second half. The Holton, Kan. native shot 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Katelyn Edwards totaled another double-double, her team-leading eighth of the season, with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kate Lehman narrowly missed out on a double-double herself, finishing with 13 points and eight boards, including eight points and seven rebounds in the first half. Lehman's three blocks in the win give her 77 on the season, which is already a single-season record. She moved past LeAnne Bryant (75) to fifth in career blocks.
Off the bench, Melissa Nelson and Kaiameka Brown added nine points and seven points, respectively. Nelson also totaled a team-high three assists.
After an even first 7 minutes of the game where the visiting Jennies took a one-point lead at 10-9, the Lady Tigers went on a 10-0 run to build a nine point advantage at 19-10 with 8:42 left in the half, highlighted by four points from both Nelson and Edwards.
The Jennies closed to six, 25-19, with just more than 3 minutes left in the half, but FHSU scored eight of the last 10 points to go into halftime at 33-21.
In the second half, the Lady Tigers controlled the game, only allowing the Jennies to close to within nine points twice. Fort Hays pushed the margin to as high as 25 points, 68-43, with just under 5 minutes remaining. The Tigers outscored the Jennies 35-30 in the second frame.
A stingy Tiger defense held the visiting Jennies to 29.5 percent from the field in the game, including 28.1 percent in the first half. From 3, the Jennies were 4-of-14 for 28.6 percent. Alyssa Rhodes scored 11 for UCM, while Shaquanda Wiggins and Nicole Caddall added 10 points each.
The Tigers hit 40 percent of their shots from the field (24-60) and 5-of-13 from 3-point range for 38.5 percent.
Central Missouri falls to 17-6 (11-6 MIAA) on the year with the loss for fourth in the MIAA.