JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Fort Hays State men's basketball dropped the final game of its road swing in Missouri by a score of 76-64 at Lincoln University. After just a one-point lead at halftime, Lincoln used a 12-3 run and a 16-6 run to pull away from the Tigers in the second half to remain unbeaten on its home floor this season. FHSU moved to 3-6, while Lincoln improved to 6-2 on the season.
Lincoln held leads of seven points four times early in the game before FHSU used a 10-2 run to vault in front 20-19 with 8:14 remaining before halftime. Eventually FHSU held a five-point lead, its largest of the game with 3:40 remaining before the break, but Lincoln stormed right back with an 8-0 run to take the lead again. Lincoln went into the locker room holding on to a 37-36 lead. Jared Vitztum nearly had a double-double at the half with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Much like their loss at Central Missouri on Thursday night, a rash of turnovers was the undoing of the Tigers. FHSU committed 10 of its 17 turnovers overall and shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the second half.
The Tigers saw their final lead of the game with just under 15 minutes to play before Lincoln used a 12-3 run to build an eight-point lead. A pair of the Tiger turnovers led to fast break points for Lincoln during the run. FHSU swiftly trimmed the lead back down to three, but then Lincoln used a 16-6 run to push its lead all the way to 13 with three minutes remaining in the game. Lincoln capped the run with a pair of buckets off FHSU turnovers.
Jared Vitztum led the Tigers with 14 points and 13 rebounds, producing his sixth double-double of the season. Alvin Thompson and Traejon Davis each had 13 points. It was a new high for Davis in his young career as he hit three 3-point field goals in the game. The Tigers hit 10 3-point field goals as a team and Kaleb Hammeke tied his season high in assists with six. FHSU was a perfect 8-of-8 at the free-throw line.
Quinton Drayton led Lincoln with 25 points, hitting five 3-point field goals. Sai Witt was one rebound shy of a double-double for the Blue Tigers, adding 18 points. Yaniel Vidal and Ni'Sean Rigmaiden each finished with 12 points. Lincoln shot 19 more free throws than the Tigers, hitting 19-of-27. The 11-point gap in free throws made between the teams nearly covered the 12-point final margin.
The Tigers will have a pair of stiff tests on the schedule at home next week when they host a pair of nationally ranked teams in Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western. Northwest Missouri State held the No. 1 ranking in the nation from the start of the season all the way up to this week before getting knocked off by No. 5 ranked Washburn on Thursday night. NWMSU will likely still be ranked, but may not have the No. 1 rating in front of them come Tuesday when the new rankings release. Missouri Western currently a national ranking of No. 22.