COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Fort Hays State picked up a big road win at UC-Colorado Springs on Sunday (Nov. 17). The Tigers fell down by 11 early, but battled back and held on to a lead the majority of the second half and held off the Mountain Lions 75-68. FHSU moved to 3-1, while handing UCCS (3-1) its first loss of the season.
The Mountain Lions jumped out to a 13-2 lead at the start of the game, but the Tigers slowly chipped away in the final 10 minutes of the first half and pulled within one, 33-32, by the break.
A Jake Hutchings three-point field goal to open the second half gave FHSU its first lead. UCCS took the lead back briefly, but the Tigers resumed their lead from the 19:06 to 6:00 marks of the second half. Never in that span of time did the Tigers hold a lead of more than six points.
A three-point play pushed the Mountain Lions back in front by one with just under six minutes to go and after another brief lead change, led by three, 62-59, following four straight free throws from Padiet Wang.
The Tigers seized the lead back for good when they went on a 9-0 run to build a lead of six with 2:34 to go. Jake Hutchings sparked the run with a tough bucket inside, then Aaron Nicholson pushed the Tigers back in front with a three-point field goal. Jared Vitztum added a pair of free throws and Nicholson canned another two-point jumper to put the Tigers in front 68-62.
UCCS tried to make another burst at the Tigers by cutting the lead down to two points with 1:39 remaining fueled by a stick-back dunk from Wang, but Nicholson provided another dagger with a jumper in the lane to push the lead back to four. The Mountain Lions turned the ball over and Nyjee Wright put the game away with a driving runner with just under 30 seconds to go.
All five Tiger starters scored in double figures, led by Jared Vitztum with 17. Nicholson and Wright each provided 14 points, while Hutchings had 13 and Devin Davis had 11. Hutchings led the Tiger rebounding effort with eight, helping FHSU outrebound UCCS by 12. Perry Carroll was the only Tiger to score off the bench with six points.
Wang led the Mountain Lions with 23 points, while Daraun Clark added 15. Ed Bourke led UCCS in rebounds with nine.
The Tigers have just over a week off before traveling to Kansas City to take on Southwest Baptist in a neutral site contest at Municipal Auditorium on November 26.