www.mozilla.com Weather Central

Hays High's Dale continues winning ways -12/19/2014, 10:57 AM

Page continues hot streak for Tiger wrestling -12/19/2014, 10:16 AM

KSU revs interest in Ojeleye -12/19/2014, 10:15 AM

Top stories 2014: Tebo gets his gold -12/19/2014, 10:26 AM

KU's Beaty draws from Texas roots -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

KSU expects more than 10,000 fans -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

Indians swimmers compete at Manhattan -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

Steelers bring a new identity into crucial game against Chiefs -12/18/2014, 11:30 AM

Indians earn sweep before holiday break -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Top stories 2014: FHSU football continues steady climb -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Lehman's triple-double leads FHSU to eighth straight win -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Dome hits game-winner for Victoria boys; TMP girls roll -12/17/2014, 10:19 AM

Shockers rally from 11 down to beat Alabama -12/17/2014, 10:19 AM

Royals land Rios -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

KU, Mizzou express interest in Ojeleye -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

Kansas State DT Clinkscales faces additional charge -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

No WR touchdowns? No problem -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Dec. 14 -12/15/2014, 10:42 AM

Heisman winner Mariota can't wait to get back on field -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

Kansas State picks up win -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

FHSU wrestling fifth at Newman -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

Pair of double-doubles lead Tiger women -12/15/2014, 11:01 AM

Chiefs go long, handle Raiders -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan on NBA scoring list -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Patriots, Broncos clinch -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Prep basketball scores, Dec. 13 -12/14/2014, 10:04 AM

WSU rallies to beat Detroit -12/14/2014, 6:59 PM

Hill City boys outlast TMP -12/14/2014, 1:17 PM

Sports Scores


Prep basketball


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


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

Click To View All

myTown Calendar

Tiger men gut out big win in MIAA

[var top_story_head]

Tiger men gut out big win in MIAA

Published on -12/6/2012, 10:18 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story



The Fort Hays State University men's basketball team struggled early this season with two rare non-conference losses and a nearly brand-new squad. The defeats came against Newman University, 7-0 with three wins against MIAA teams, and Northwestern Oklahoma State University, 3-4 but with three losses by a combined 14 points.

"Our guys had to play some tough games early," Tiger coach Mark Johnson said.

One positive was the spacing of games. The Tigers played NWOSU on Nov. 17 and then had a week off before they played Newman. Three days later, they earned a blowout win versus NAIA Central Christian College. After that, Fort Hays had another week to practice before the conference opener against University of Central Missouri on Wednesday night.

The stretches between contests has allowed FHSU to learn, grow and improve -- and led to a well-played 77-72 victory at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Fort Hays played well throughout the contest against the rival Mules, picked second in the league in the preseason coaches' and media polls.

"Continued to get into that practice and get better and better," Johnson said. "More so than anything too, we are gaining some confidence a little bit. We need some more guys to continue to step up and the more comfortable they get, we have the potential to be a solid basketball team."

The entire contest was played within 10 points and wasn't decided until the final 10 seconds. However, FHSU never trailed by more than two at any time and improved to 4-2, 1-0 MIAA. Central Missouri dropped to 4-2, 0-1 MIAA. It was the fourth time in the last six meetings and second in a row the perennial powers played to within seven points.

"We lost a couple of really close games, which has really hurt us," Tiger senior guard Ben Congiusta said. "We showed that we can come away with a close one here tonight. We really showed some good signs tonight. I am really happy with the guys."

Fort Hays had some foul trouble again with junior forward Dwayne Brunson and senior center Rundell Mauge. The two combined for 16 points, nine rebounds and seven fouls in 39 minutes. However, the Tigers saw significant improvements in several key areas, played well in a rarely used zone and had big nights from multiple players.

"We really had to play our best to come out with a win, so it was just a huge game for us," Congiusta said.

Entering the contest, Fort Hays had shot 65.8 percent on free throws, allowed 12.2 offensive rebounds a contest and committed 16.6 turnovers a game. Versus Central Missouri, Fort Hays went 11 of 13 (85 percent) from the free throw line, allowed four offensive rebounds and committed just 13 turnovers. Johnson said, because of the inexperience, FHSU's goal is between 12 and 15 turnovers.

Freshman Craig Nicholson finished with a career-best 22 points and seven assists, both game-highs. Johnson called the point guard "the best player on the floor."

"We have got a lot of confidence in Craig," said Congiusta, who collected 14 points, six assists and just one turnover. "He has got a lot of confidence and a lot of good moves, and he can play."

Senior Lance Russell played 40 minutes for the first time in his career and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Without junior guard Tomislav Gabric (transfer issues) for the season, Russell is the Tigers' lone big guard. Central Missouri had several big guards, including Reggie Stallings. He led the Mules with 19 points and hit six 3s.

"Lance just had to be out there," Johnson said.

Johnson doesn't like zone, but FHSU ran it for nearly the entire contest. Central Missouri hit 11 3s, but shot 46 percent.

"I thought it was semi-effective, but more than anything, just to stay out of foul trouble," Johnson said.

Junior center Andrew Victoria, out all season with a knee injury, hadn't practiced in more than a month. He was checked during the women's game and was cleared to play very limited minutes. Victoria had just four minutes, but scored four points, including two key free throws, and provided more size. His two free throws with 4:42 left gave FHSU a 68-67 lead. Fort Hays never lost the lead again.

"Real critical for us, he gives us another option to score inside, allows us to stay big throughout the game," Johnson said.

Fort Hays led 75-72 late, but Central Missouri had a chance to tie the game when Mules junior Charles Hammork collided with Congiusta with 12 seconds left and forced a turnover. With five seconds left, Brunson knocked the ball away from Mule senior Dominique Long. Russell hit two foul shots to seal the victory. As the buzzer sounded, the fanbase let out a big ovation and Congiusta ran over to Brunson near midcourt. The pair jumped high into the air and bumped shoulders to celebrate.

"It was just so important," Congiusta said. "You can't really even describe it. We needed this game."

The Tigers travel to St. Joseph, Mo. on Saturday to take on Missouri Western (4-3, 0-1 MIAA).

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.