Fort Hays State (8-2, 8-2 MIAA) at
Pittsburg State (8-4, 8-4 MIAA)
Saturday, January 23 • 3:30 p.m.
Pittsburg, Kansas • John Lance Arena
Radio: KJLS (103.3-FM)
Fort Hays State Men's Basketball completes a two-game road swing this week on Saturday (Jan. 23) at Pittsburg State. The Tigers are coming off a 102-94 overtime win at Missouri Southern on Thursday night and now sit at 4-7, while Pittsburg State enters the contest at 5-7. Tipoff is set for 3:30 pm at John Lance Arena.
Jared Vitztum and Kaleb Hammeke set a new FHSU record for most points by a Tiger combo that scored at least 30 points in the same game with 64, each scoring 32 in the overtime win at Missouri Southern on Thursday. They also became the first combo to score at least 30 points in the same game under head coach Mark Johnson, now in his 20th year leading the Tigers. It was just the third time in school history two players scored at least 30 in the same game (Ronnie Thompkins (31) and Mark Harris (30) combined for 61 on March 18, 1988 in the NAIA National Tournament vs. Grand Canyon, and Thompkins (30) and Harris (30) combined for 60 against Oklahoma Panhandle State on February 23, 1988). The 64 points were the most scored by two Tiger players since November 18, 1994 when Dennis Edwards had 43 and Kenneth Haywood had 22 for a combination of 65 against Oklahoma Science and Arts. The school record of points scored by two Tigers in the same game is held by Mike Pauls (42 points) and Mark Wilson (28 points), combining for 70 against Hastings College on January 23, 1979 at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays.
The 102 points scored by the Tigers on Thursday were the most in a true road game during Mark Johnson's 20-year tenure as head coach. It matched the most points scored by the Tigers in an MIAA regular season contest, also accomplished in a 102-89 win over Southwest Baptist back on January 9, 2010 in Hays. It was, however, the most points scored by the Tigers in a true-road contest in MIAA regular season play as their history with the conference dates back to the 2006-07 season. The previous high for points scored on the road under Mark Johnson was 101, accomplished twice (101-97 win at Central Oklahoma in OT on Jan. 16, 2014, and 101-109 loss at Colorado School of Mines in 2OT on November 17, 2017).
The Tigers look to build on their historic performance when they face Pittsburg State. Fort Hays State had won four straight games against Pittsburg State up until last season when the Gorillas claimed a 79-68 win in Hays. The Tigers have won the last two meetings between the teams in Pittsburg, edging the Gorillas by two during the 2018-19 season and by five during the 2016-17 season. The last time PSU defeated FHSU in Pittsburg was on Feb. 11, 2016 by a score of 101-92. Fort Hays State is 8-4 in Pittsburg since joining the MIAA in 2006-07. The Tigers are 2-4 in road games so far this year, with both wins coming in overtime (at Newman and Missouri Southern).
With his monster double-double effort of 32 points and 15 rebounds, Vitztum improved his scoring average to 18.9 points per game and continues to lead the MIAA in rebounding at 10.5 per game. He is tied for the national lead in double-doubles with 7, matching Dylan Peeters of Truman (Mo.).
With 32 against Missouri Southern on Thursday, Hammeke blew past his previous scoring high this season of 20 points at Newman. His two-highest scoring efforts this year have been in Fort Hays State's two road wins this season. Hammeke boosted his season scoring average to 11.8 points per game and he continues to lead the team in assists at 4.4 per game.
Alvin Thompson produced a new season high in scoring on Thursday with 19 points. He upped his season scoring average to 11.3 points per game, giving the Tigers four players averaging double figures in scoring, all above 11 per game.
Bobby Arthur-Williams Jr. leads the Gorillas in scoring at 14.3 points per game. Martin Vogts (12.3) and Quentin Hardict Jr. (10.3) also average double figures in scoring. Pittsburg State enters the contest on a three-game losing skid, which includes a 10-point loss to Nebraska-Kearney back on Thursday evening.