Jan 12, 2022

🏀📻 LISTEN - Tiger men take a shot at defending national champs Wednesday night

Posted Jan 12, 2022 8:00 PM
FHSU's Kaleb Hammeke (Courtesy FHSU Atheltics, Nicole Heitmann)
FHSU's Kaleb Hammeke (Courtesy FHSU Atheltics, Nicole Heitmann)

#2/2 Northwest Missouri State (13-1, 6-0 MIAA) at
RV/RV Fort Hays State (11-2, 6-2 MIAA)

Wednesday, January 12 • 7:30 p.m.
Hays, Kan. • Gross Memorial Coliseum
Radio: KJLS (103.3-FM)


Game Sponsor: American Family Insurance - Brian Ruder Agency
National Anthem: Trilogy
Promotions: Mascot Night & FHSU Men's Basketball Camper Appreciation
Halftime Performances: Tiger Debs & Mascots

Fort Hays State Men's Basketball will face a strong challenge on Wednesday night (Jan. 12) when defending national champion and No. 2/2 ranked Northwest Missouri State comes to Hays. Tipoff is set for 7:30 pm inside Gross Memorial Coliseum, which follows the women's contest at 5:30 pm. The Tigers are receiving votes in both national polls, entering this game at 11-2 overall, 6-2 in the MIAA, while the Bearcats enter at 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the MIAA.

Fort Hays State is looking to snap an 11-game losing streak to Northwest Missouri State, which dates back to the 2012-13 season. The Tigers were MIAA regular season co-champions that season and defeated the Bearcats twice during the regular season before falling to them in the conference tournament, which was the start of the current streak. Since then, Northwest Missouri State has won nine straight MIAA regular season titles, starting in 2013-14.

The Tigers are looking to pull within a game of the Bearcats in the loss column in conference play. Northwest Missouri State is the only remaining undefeated team in conference play, while Central Oklahoma and Missouri Southern each have one loss and Fort Hays State and Emporia State have two losses.

Fort Hays State defeated Central Missouri in its last outing, a five-point comeback win in Hays by a score of 64-59. The Tigers trailed by nine at halftime of that contest. FHSU is 3-2 this season when trailing at the half. A 13-point halftime deficit at Emporia State was their largest second-half comeback win this season.

Northwest Missouri State has not played since last Monday, when it defeated Pittsburg State by 10 points in Maryville. This will be just the third road test in MIAA play so far this season for the Bearcats after road wins at Lincoln and Central Missouri.

Jared Vitztum is averaging a double-double to lead the Tigers, producing 14.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season. He is the only player in the MIAA averaging more than 10 rebounds per game. Kaleb Hammeke is right behind in scoring at 14.4 points per game, while Nyjee Wright also averages double figures at 10.9 per game. Hammeke averages a team-best 3.4 assists per game.

The Bearcats are led by 2021 NABC Division II Player of the Year Trevor Hudgins, who averages 24.6 points and 4.1 assists per game so far this season. Individually, he averages 5.2 3-point field goal makes per game and is shooting a staggering 93.8 percent at the free-throw line (61-of-65). Wes Dreamer (13.9) and Diego Bernard (12.1) also average double figures in scoring for the Bearcats. Four of the five Bearcat starters shoot better than 40 percent beyond the 3-point line, helping the team to a team percentage of 41.7 beyond the arc that leads the MIAA and ranks ninth nationally.  

FHSU Athletics