By GERARD WELLBROCK
DENVER – Bjarni Jonsson hit a 3-point field goal as time expired to force overtime but the Fort Hays State men's basketball team couldn't overcome an eight-point deficit in the extra period and lost 75-71 to MSU Denver Sunday afternoon at the Auraria Event Center.
The Tigers (2-1) rallied from a 14-point deficit with a little under eight minutes to play but the Roadrunners (4-0) scored the first eight points of the overtime then held off the Tigers late rally.
MSU Denver opened the game on a 7-1 run before FHSU answered with eight straight points to to up 9-7. It was part of a bigger 19-6 run capped by a Kaleb Hammeke 3-pointer which pushed the Tiger lead to 20-13.
The Roadrunners closed out the first half on a 20-8 run for a 33-28 lead at the break then extended it 14 points with 7:50 remaining in the game.
The Tigers answered with a 9-0 run to get within four with just under three minutes to play. They and closed the second half on a 22-8 run to force the OT.
The Tigers forced a turnover to get the ball back with 28 seconds. They then worked the ball around and Jahiem Holden found an open Jonsson in the right corner who buried a three to tie the game as time expired.
MSU Denver scored the first eight points in the overtime as the Tigers missed their first five shots. A Conner Landell triggered an 8-2 FHSU run. Kaleb Hemmeke hit a pair 3-pointers to get the Tigers back within two with a little over a minute to play.
The Tigers trailed by three again with just over 30 seconds to play and forced another turnover out of the Roadrunners. However, they turnedc the ball over. MSU Denver went made one of two free throws for the final margin.
Holden led the Tigers with 19 points and five assists, going 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-7 beyond the 3-point line. Kaleb Hammeke added 13 points. Hammeke tied Shaun Riley for the team lead in rebounds with five each.
Brayden Maldonado led the MSU Denver effort with 21 points and five assists, hitting 8-of-13 field goal attempts with a 3-of-3 effort at the free-throw line. Mario Lacy, who scored the first six points of overtime for MSU Denver, finished with 14 points. McGill also reached double figures in scoring with 15 points. Lacy had a double-double, adding 16 rebounds.
Fort Hays State will host Central Christian College for its first home game of the 2023-24 season on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for noon at Gross Memorial Coliseum.