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Tiger basketball seasons come to a close

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Both Fort Hays State University men's and women's basketball teams entered Sunday's NCAA Division II tournament selection show on the bubble. The Tiger squads weren't likely to qualify -- and neither one did.

On the men's side, Fort Hays won the MIAA regular season championship and advanced to the conference tournament semifinals before it lost to Northwest Missouri State University on Saturday. The Tigers finished 20-8. University of Central Missouri, who tied the Tigers in the league standings and earned the automatic bid by winning the conference tournament, and Northeastern State (Okla.) University qualified.

The Tigers have seven 20-win seasons under 12th-year coach Mark Johnson, who won his first MIAA title and second regular season championship this year. This is the second straight year an MIAA team that won or shared for the regular season crown and didn't make the NCAA field.

"They should be in the NCAA tournament, but I am not on the committee," said Northwest Missouri coach Ben McCullom.

Northeastern State finished 19-8 and lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Two teams with 11 losses, Upper Iowa and Arkansas Tech, received at-large bids over the Tigers.

FHSU women finished 22-7, tied for the most wins in program history since 1994-95. Three MIAA teams -- Washburn University, University of Central Missouri and Emporia State University -- qualified. The Tiger women haven't qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2004-05. Fort Hays, though, has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons under fifth-year coach Tony Hobson.