JOPLIN, Mo. - Fort Hays State overcame an early 14-point deficit then nearly blew a late lead but held on for a 102-94 overtime win at Missouri Southern State Thursday night at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Jared Vitztum and Kaleb Hammeke both scored 32 points and Alvin Thompson added 19 as the Tigers end their four-game losing streak.
The Tigers (4-7, 4-7 MIAA) missed their first nine shots and fell behind 14-1 to start the game. The Lions (5-6, 5-6 MIAA) pushed the lead to 14 with 11:55 to play in the first half but a 21-6 run by the Tigers gave them a 27-26 advantage with 5:17 left in the half.
MSSU led by two at the break and pushed it to seven a couple of times before FHSU answered with a 12-1 run capped by a Gilbert Peters basket which pushed the Tiger lead to 56-52 with 13:44 to play.
Vitztum converted a three-point play with 4:36 to play to give the Tigers their biggest lead to that point. Cam Martin fouled out on the play. The MIAA's leading scorer finished with 19 points adn 11 rebounds.
Southern's Stan Scott tied the game 82-82 with a three-point play with 15 seconds to play. Quinten Rock missed a three at the horn.
Scott finished with 32 points for the Lions.
The Tigers would never trail in overtime as Vitztum opened the scoring with a 3-point play, putting FHSU up three. Hammeke added a couple more free throws to make the lead five. From that point, MSSU cut the lead inside three only once. The Tigers went 15-of-17 in the extra period from the foul line. Hammeke was 8-of-8 and Vitztum 3-of-3.
Vitztum produced his seventh double-double of the season adding 15 rebounds. He finished 11-of-18 from the field and 9-of-10 at the free-throw line. Hammeke was 9-of-18 from the field with three 3-pointers, while going 11-of-12 at the line. Jordan Pumphrey added a career-beast nine rebounds to go along with his five points.
The 102 points scored by the Tigers were the most in a true road game during Mark Johnson's 20-year tenure as head coach. It matched the most points by the Tigers in an MIAA regular season contest. It was also the most points scored by the Tigers in a true road contest in MIAA regular season play.
The Tigers shot 44 free throws and made 38 (86.4 percent), outscoring the Lions by 15 at the charity stripe in a game that saw 58 fouls called. MSSU finished just 23-of-36 at the line (63.9 percent).