That’s the number that jumps off the sheet following Wednesday’s MIAA contest at Lee Arena for the Fort Hays State University men’s basketball team.
No. A Tiger player didn’t go off for a bunch of points in the Tigers’ first conference road outing.
That’s the percentage of shots FHSU hit in a 69-58 setback to MIAA foe Washburn in the Ichabods’ MIAA opener.
Hard to beat a team anywhere, let alone in its home arena, when only 19 of 62 shots find the bottom of the net — plain and simple.
That doesn’t mean the Tigers didn’t have their opportunities. Despite the offensive woes, and some foul troubles to key players, FHSU (6-3 overall, 2-1 MIAA) still was never run out of the gym, despite being held to 30 points under their season average.
“I thought our effort was pretty good,” Tiger coach Mark Johnson said. “You can’t go on the road and play this bad of offense and expect to beat a good team.”
Had the execution been better, Johnson said, in the final 10 minutes, the Tigers could have made it a one-possession game. But, FHSU never could find a score to gain any momentum.
“If we just clean it up, that little stretch (from 10 minutes to 4 minutes left),” Johnson said. “You have to play better offensively if you expect to win on the road.”
FHSU’s foul troubles didn’t help matters much. Leading scorer Hadley Gillum, who averaged 30 points per game in the Tigers’ 2-0 MIAA start last week, played just 23 minutes, and fouled out with 5:51 left. He managed 11 points, one of three Tigers in double figures.
“He was averaging 19, but in the conference he was averaging 30. He was a big focus of ours to really make him work to get his points,” said Washburn first-year coach Brett Ballard. “We threw some different guys at him and did a pretty good job of not giving him his shots.”
FHSU’s only shooting success came at the free throw line, where the Tigers hit 13 of 19, and they outrebounded the Ichabods 37-32, keeping the game respectable.
“It was just a struggle all night,” Johnson said. “Even when we worked hard to give ourselves an opportunity, we just couldn’t capitalize.”
Washburn had a lot to do with that. The Ichabods entered the night with three losses, all coming to quality NCAA Division II competition, much like the Tigers.
“I don’t want to put it all on us,“ Johnson said. “Washburn did a good job and pressured us, and their athleticism gave us a lot of problems.”
The Ichabods’ Brady Skeens had three of WU’s five blocked shots, and he led them in scoring with 16. Washburn (6-3, 1-0) had a hot hand, shooting 55 percent from the floor for the game.
FHSU’s defense and rebounding, though, kept the Tigers in it. The Tigers had a five-point lead early, going up 11-6 on a 1-of-2 effort at the free throw line for Payton Stephens.
Once Tyas Martin put Washburn up 17-15, though, with 6:47 to play before halftime, the Ichabods never trailed. They led by as much as 13 in the second half as FHSU could never find the spark.
“It’s not all us, but we didn’t execute,” Johnson said. “We have to execute every possession to get off a quality shot. Not necessarily make it, but just get off a quality shot.”
Stephens added 10 points for the Tigers, as did Kyler Kinnamon. Tiger junior Brady Werth, who fouled out shortly after Gillum, had six points in only 18 minutes played.
The Tigers are at Emporia State on Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. tipoff at White Auditorium.