HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State shot nearly 60-percent from the floor and went 12-for-21 from beyond the arc and beat Central Oklahoma 81-73 for their fourth-straight win Saturday afternoon at Gross Coliseum. The Tigers (11-11, 4-9 MIAA) move into a three-way tie for 10th place in the MIAA as they continue their push to make the MIAA Tournament.
The Bronchos (7-17, 4-11 MIAA) have lost eight-straight, their longest losing streak since the 1977-78 season.
The Tigers led 41-38 halftime thanks to 64-percent shooting. There were 10 ties and five lead changes with neither team leading by more than six in the first 20 minutes.
A 13-4 run over the first five minutes of the second half pushed FHSU’s lead to 54-42. UCO scored the next seven to get within five at 54-49 but would never get any closer.
Aaron Nicholson converted on a conventional three-point play followed by threes from Calvin Harrington and Alvin Thompson to fuel an 11-2 Tiger run to push the lead to 65-51 with 10:36 to play.
The lead grew to 16 with 4:10 left when the Bronchos went on a 13-1 run to pull within 79-73 with 1:37 to play but Calvin Harrington and Nyjee Wright each hit one of two free throws down the stretch to hold UCO at bay.
Jared Vitztum led four Tigers in double-figures with a career-high tying 22 points and eight rebounds. The Hays junior went 6-for-6 from the floor including four 3-pointers and was 6-of-7 from the foul line. Alvin Thompson went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and scored 14 off the bench. Aaron Nicholson also scored 14 and Wright added 13.
Justin Nimmer led the Bronchos with a career-high 20.