Jan 04, 2020 3:45 PM

Tigers host No. 18 Missouri Southern in first game of new year

Posted Jan 04, 2020 3:45 PM
Courtesy FHSU Athletics / Ryan Prickett photo
Courtesy FHSU Athletics / Ryan Prickett photo

FHSU Sports Information

Fort Hays State Men's Basketball prepares for its first MIAA home contest of the season on Saturday against No. 18 ranked Missouri Southern. Tipoff is at 4 pm, following the women's contest at 2 pm. The Tigers are looking for a second-straight home win over a nationally ranked opponent. FHSU enters at 6-4 overall and 0-2 in the MIAA, while the Lions are 9-2 overall and 2-0 in MIAA play.

You can hear the game on KJLS (103.3-FM). LISTEN LIVE

The Tigers are 3-0 at home so far this season, outscoring its opposition by an average of 39.0 points per game inside Gross Memorial Coliseum. All three of those contests were against NAIA opponents, which included Sterling College, Bethel College, and Avila University. Now the Tigers prepare for the grind of MIAA play, which makes up 17 of their 18 remaining games. A rescheduled non-conference home date with Kansas Wesleyan on January 27 is the only interruption from MIAA play the rest of the way this season.

Fort Hays State looks for its first conference win of the year after road losses at Nebraska-Kearney and Emporia State back in early December. The Tigers are looking for two wins in a row over nationally ranked opponents at home, and coincidentally against the same opponent. FHSU defeated a No. 25 ranked Missouri Southern team in Gross Memorial Coliseum last year by a score of 89-84 on February 28, 2019 in the second-to-last home game of the season. FHSU has won five straight contests against Missouri Southern inside Gross Memorial Coliseum dating back to the 2012-13 season. The last win for MSSU in the coliseum occurred during the 2011-12 season when it held a ranking of No. 14 in the nation.

Four of the five FHSU starters average more than 10 points per game, led by Devin Davis at 12.2. Jake Hutchings is right behind at 12.0, while Jared Vitztum leads the team in rebounds at 8.0 per game, while chipping in 11 points per game. Nyjee Wright leads in assists at 2.2 per game, while adding 10.6 points per contest. Alvin Thompson is the top scorer off the bench for FHSU at 7.3 points per game, shooting an efficient 55.8 percent from the field and 56.3 percent beyond the 3-point line.

Missouri Southern counters with All-America forward Cam Martin, who averages 22.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He earned All-America honors and a first-team All-MIAA selection as a sophomore last year. The Lions are ranked No. 18 in both the NABC (coaches) and D2SIDA (media) national polls.

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Jan 04, 2020 3:45 PM
No. 24 Shockers outlast ECU in conference opener

Wichita State Athletics

WICHITA, Kan. – An all-around effort from Erik Stevenson helped No. 24/23 Wichita State outlast East Carolina, 75-69, in a New Year's Day matinee at Charles Koch Arena.

Stevenson posted team-highs across the board for the Shockers (12-1, 1-0 American), finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists, five steals and a block.

Wichita State won its sixth-straight game and extended its home winning streak to 12 games.

Jamarius Burton added 15 points and Trey Wade and Tyson Etienne finished with 11 points and six rebounds apiece.

Jayden Gardner, the conference's leading scorer, put up 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to lead ECU (6-8, 0-1 American), which had won four-in-a-row coming in.

ECU shot 49.2 percent – best by a Shocker opponent this year -- and became only the second opposing team to out-rebound them, winning the battle of the boards 36-33.

Wichita State connected on 43.9 percent from the floor, including 9-of-27 from distance, but struggled from the foul line. The Shockers attempted 20 more free throws than ECU but hit just 16-of-29 (.552).

Helped by 12 steals, the Shockers finished plus-six in takeaways (17-11) and outscored the Pirates 13-6 off turnovers.

The Shockers led for 39 minutes but never comfortably. They scored the game's first nine points but struggled to sustain any momentum.

Down 37-30 at halftime, ECU rallied to take its only lead, 45-44, with 12:46 to go.

Stevenson helped turn the tide with a three-pointer and a free throw that keyed a 6-0 Shocker run. He scored 10 of his 17 points over the last 10 minutes of the game.

Etienne, who entered the week ranked 15th nationally in three-point percentage, missed six of his first seven attempts to start the day but hit back-to-back in a span of less than 40 seconds during another 8-0 spurt. Wade's dunk made it 65-54 with 6:38 to play.

Gardner took over for ECU over the next five minutes, pulling the Pirates to within three with under a minute to play.

Morris Udeze (nine points and four rebounds) made two key defensive plays on consecutive possession, blocking a shot and then stealing an entry pass. Two trips later, Stevenson added a steal of his own. The Shockers sank five free throws over the final 41 seconds to seal the win.