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Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Tiger men pushing the pace

Published on -1/18/2013, 10:24 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University freshman Craig Nicholson found senior center Rundell Mauge for a dunk early in the first half of Wednesday's 74-59 home victory against Southwest Baptist (Mo.) University.

Midway thtough the second half, Nicholson drove in against two SBU defenders. He had junior Carson Konrade open on the right-side perimeter. Instead, Nicholson make a quick move, split the defenders and got off a shot in the lane for a basket.

A few minutes later, FHSU executed a perfect fast break when Mauge quickly passed to Nicholson, who tossed an underhand pass to a sprinting senior guard Ben Congiusta, who scored a wide-open layup.

The victory was the 236th of coach Mark Johnson's 12-year career and moved him ahead of Bill Morse for sole possession of second place on the Tigers' all-time wins list.

The quick movement and fast break ability is common for the Tigers and Nicholson, who continues to play at a high level as the season reaches the halfway mark in the schedule and the one-third pole in conference play.

"I thought they had a hard time in transition," Johnson said. "I understand. Craig can be hard to handle. We are trying to do that every game. Sometimes, it's what the defense gives you, and the defense gave us those opportunities at times tonight."

Fort Hays stands at 10-4, 4-2 MIAA, part of a massive logjam near the top of the 15-team MIAA. On Wednesday, two lower-tier teams, Lincoln (Mo.) University and Truman State (Mo.) University, defeated two upper-tier squads, Northwest Missouri State University and Washburn University, on the road.

On Saturday, FHSU will travel to Pittsburg State University (11-4, 4-3 MIAA). Start time is 1:30 p.m. for the women and 3:30 p.m. for the men. Kaleb Porter leads the Gorillas with 15.4 points per contest.

University of Central Missouri leads the league at 5-1 with its lone loss coming to the Tigers. Seven teams are either 10-3, 10-4, 11-3 or 11-4.

"It's a jumbled mess," Johnson said.

Fort Hays has averaged 71.7 possessions per contest, according to noted statistician Ken Pomeroy's possession formula. In the last four seasons, a stretch that includes two years with All-American point guard Dominique Jones, it's the fastest the Tigers have played. The last three seasons have delivered 66.8, 70.8 and 68.8 possessions per game.

FHSU has averaged 1.10 points per possession, a higher mark than last season (1.05) and slightly behind the two Jones' years (1.14 and 1.12). The Tigers have liked playing quickly, even the 7-foot Mauge. He played at North Platte (Neb.) Community College with Joseph Ragland, North Platte's all-time leading scorer and now at Wichita State University.

"Our team at North Platte, they were a fast team also," Mauge said. "It' kind of getting back to what I am used to. I like the way Craig moves the ball, I like the way that Lance (Russell) plays, I like the way that Ben plays. All of my teammates, it's great to be around them."

Early in the season, Fort Hays had some trouble with turnovers. However, the Tigers have virtually maintained their offensive efficiency in conference play, a trend that usually doesn't happen because of the difficult MIAA slate.

Last season, FHSU averaged 65 possessions and 1.03 points per game in conference.

This year, FHSU is at 67.8 possessions per contest and 1.09 points per game versus the MIAA. Fort Hays has committed 19.1 turnovers per 100 possessions in MIAA action, and 19.9 overall. As well, Fort Hays is 6-0 overall, 3-0 MIAA play when all of its regulars are healthy.

"We got all the shooters, we got all the post," Mauge said. "Definitely, tougher to beat with all of our guys back."

Nicholson, one of the nation's top freshmen in assists, continues to lead the conference at 6.8 assists per contest. Four Tigers, led by junior Dwayne Brunson, average between 15.5 and 12.9 points per game. Against SBU, Nicholson had nine assists and five players had at least nine points.

"I thought they really didn't have an answer for Craig defensively," Johnson said. "When Craig was in the game, he really was able to get around their guys and put pressure on their defense and put havoc on their defense."

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