HAYS – Fort Hays State rallied from a 12-point second half deficit and tied No. 3 Northwest Missouri State with just under six minutes to play but the Bearcats outscored the Tigers 15-2 the rest of the way for a 64-51 win Thursday night at Gross Coliseum.
The Bearcats (7-1, 7-1 MIAA) raced out to an early 14-4 lead but the Tigers closed the gap to five with a little over six minutes to play in the first half but Trevor Hudgins 3-pointer at the horn pushed the Northwest lead to 31-21 at halftime.
The scored the first basket of the second half to go up 12. The Tigers (3-5, 3-5 MIAA) closed within in five on back-to-back Gilbert Peters baskets with 12 minutes to play.
Northwest scored the next seven to go up 12 but the FHSU responded with a 13-1 run and tied the game on a Quinten Rock jumper with 5:51 to play.
Jordan Pumphrey triggered the run with his first 3-poitner since the season opener against Washburn. Kaleb Hammeke added an old-fashioned 3-point play then added a stick-back basket to trim the margin to four. After an NWMSU free throw, Rock made a 3-pointer which trimmed the lead to two, then following a Bearcat offensive foul, Rock made a driving runner to tie the game 49-49.
The Tigers were held to two free throws the rest of the way, missing their last eight shots.
Rock was held to 1-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc but led the Tigers with 12 points. Kaleb Hammeke scored 11 and Peters added 10.
Jared Vitzum was held to five points but led FHSU with seven rebounds. VItztum, Rock and Hammeke were a combined 2-of-15 from beyond the arc.
The Tigers are back at home Saturday afternoon against No. 16 Missouri Western State at 4:00 pm.