HAYS, Kan. – Nyjee Wright hit two key 3-pointers, made four free throws and blocked a shot in the final three minutes to help Fort Hays State to a 79-72 win over Newman Thursday at Gross Coliseum. Wright scored a career-high 26 points, dished out four assists without a turnover and had two steals as the Tigers (10-11, 309 MIAA) win their third straight.
The Tigers hit only two of their first ten shots and fell behind by 11 less than eight minutes into the game. They responded by hitting nine of their next 13 shots over a seven minute stretch. The 24-6 run pushed their lead to seven.
FHSU would go up eight early in the second half, but a 7-0 run by the Jets (8-15, 2-12 MIAA) tie the game 52-52 with 11:07 to play. Neither team would lead by more than three until a Wright 3-pointer which put the Tigers up 69-64 with 2:47 to play.
A three-point play by Juwan Davidson pulled the Jets within one at 70-69 with 1:21 left but Wright would hit a three from the right wing on the next possession to push the lead to four. The Jets missed a layup then fouled Jake Hutchings who hit one of two free throws to make it 74-69.
Wright got a steal and was fouled and hit both ends of a one and one to push the Tigers lead to 76-69.
Following a David Javorsky deep three which pulled Newman within 76-72 with 23 seconds to play, Wright hit two more free throws then got his hand on Tyjil Hereford three-point try in the closing seconds.
Aaron Nicholson scored 15 for the Tigers, Devin Davis added 13 and Jared Vitztum 12 before fouling out.
Marshawn Blackmon had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Jets.
The Tigers shot 56-percent in the second half and finished at 51-percent for the game.