WARRENSBURG, Mo. — The Fort Hays State University men’s basketball team got off to a slow start Thursday in its road MIAA contest against University of Central Missouri at the UCM Multipurpose Building.

It ultimately led to an 81-66 loss at the hands of the Mules, the Tigers’ second conference loss in the first MIAA game back from the holiday break.

The Tigers (10-4 overall, 3-2 MIAA) trailed by 24 points at halftime, then made up just a bit of ground after intermission.

Central Missouri (11-2, 3-1) got hot in the first half and led by as many as 29 points with less than a minute to go in the first with FHSU already having 13 turnovers. UCM shot 60 percent in the first half, including making six 3-pointers.

Foul trouble also plagued the Tigers as Hadley Gillum fouled out with just less than 10 minutes to play, finishing with just seven points. Redshirt freshman Jared Vitztum led all Tigers with 10 points — all coming in the second half. Aaron Nicholson and KeShawn Wilson each had nine points.

UCM shot 54 percent from the floor for the game. FHSU closed the game on a 14-4 run to narrow the gap to 15. The Tigers are in Bolivar, Mo., on Saturday to face Southwest Baptist University in a 3:30 start.