Southwest Baptist held a comfortable lead for the majority of the game, but Fort Hays State made a late surge and had a couple looks to tie in the final seconds of a neutral site contest at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City on Tuesday. The Bearcats escaped with a 74-71 victory, improving to 5-1, while the Tigers fell to 3-2.
Southwest Baptist went on a 13-0 run in the first half, pushing an 11-10 lead to 24-10 between the 12:51 and 10:02 marks on the clock. FHSU never climbed closer than 11 points in the first half and SBU took a 39-27 lead into halftime.
The SBU lead remained in double figures until FHSU trimmed the lead to eight, 59-51, with 8:32 to go on an Alvin Thompson jumper. SBU pushed its lead back into double figures a couple more times before FHSU made the game interesting late.
A Devin Davis 3-point play with 4:15 to go cut the lead down to nine. He canned a jumper with 3:28 to go to cut the lead to seven. Then Calvin Harrington pulled the Tigers within four with a 3-point field goal at the 2:33 mark.
Southwest Baptist responded with a 6-0 run to get its lead back to 10 with 57 seconds remaining, but full-court pressure from the Tigers gave them one more crack at coming back. Davis hit a shot, was fouled, and then grabbed his own rebound off the free throw and hit a stick back to instantly cut the lead to six. The Tigers created a steal and then Aaron Nicholson hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining cutting the lead to three. The teams traded two points each before the final thrilling frenzy from the Tigers. Nicholson stole SBU's inbounds pass with eight seconds remaining. Harrington missed a three and then Nicholson had a good look just before the horn that was just off the mark to the left.
Davis led the Tigers with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, while tying for a team-high six rebounds with Jared Vitztum. Thompson added 12 points and Harrington had 10.
Quinn Nelson had a pure stroke for the Bearcats throughout, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including a 6-of-8 effort beyond the 3-point line. Brady Smith added 17, Godfrey Rolle had 11, and Joe Miller had 10.
SBU remained strong from the field the entire game, shooting over 50 percent from the field in both halves. The Bearcats finished at 52.1 percent for the game. FHSU shot 43.3 percent overall for the game, but just 25 percent beyond the 3-point line. After an 0-of-10 start beyond the arc, the Tigers finished at 8-of-32.
FHSU returns home to take on Sterling College on Saturday night (Nov. 30) at 7 pm for the first home contest of the season.