WARRENSBURG, Mo. — Fort Hays State remains hot in the month of February, now 4-0 in the month after a key 65-50 road win at Central Missouri on Thursday night (Feb. 13). The Tigers climbed another notch in the MIAA standings to ninth, moving to 12-11 overall and 5-9 in the MIAA, while pushing their overall win streak to five games. Central Missouri fell to 9-14 overall and 4-10 in the MIAA.
The Tigers did a good job keeping the Mules in front of them on the defensive end throughout the night, limiting the opposition to just 25 points in each half. Overall, FHSU limited UCM to just 34 percent shooting from the field and just 28.6 percent beyond the 3-point line.
To push the game in their favor, the Tigers held the Mules scoreless for just over seven minutes in the first half, spanning 9:30 to 2:30 on the clock. UCM had a 19-12 lead, but a 10-0 run by the Tigers during the scoring drought gave them a 22-19 lead. UCM snapped the run with a 3-point field goal to knot the score 22-22, but the Tigers would never trail the remainder of the night going into halftime with a 27-25 lead.
After shooting just 37.9 percent from the field in the first half, the Tiger offense picked up in the second half. FHSU used an 11-2 run to open the half, pushing the lead to 38-27. From that point, the Tigers drained timely 3-point field goals the remainder of the half to squelch any chance of a Mule comeback.
The Mules made a brief run at the Tigers nearing the midway point of the second half, cutting the lead to five, but back-to-back 3-point field goals by Perry Carroll in a matter of about 30 seconds pushed the Tiger advantage back to 11 with just under nine minutes to play. When UCM trimmed the lead back to nine with under eight minutes to go, Jake Hutchings hit a 3-pointer, then when UCM trimmed the lead to eight with under six minutes to go, Carroll hit another big 3-pointer. The Tigers kept a double figure lead for the final 5:13 on the clock.
The Tigers had a balanced scoring effort with four players leading the team, each with 11 points. The group included Carroll, Hutchings, Calvin Harrington, and Jared Vitztum. Carroll and Harrington each had three 3-point field goals, accounting for 60 percent of the team's 10 in the game. Hutchings hit a pair beyond the arc. Devin Davis cleaned the glass best for the Tigers with 12 rebounds, while Nyjee Wright handed out six assists.
The Tigers pulled away from the Mules in the second half with hot shooting. After going hitting at just a 37.9 percent clip from the field in the first half, FHSU heated up to 56 percent in the second half. The Tigers were 7-of-12 beyond the 3-point arc after the intermission. FHSU finished at 46.3 percent overall for the game, while hitting 45.5 percent beyond the arc.
Matt Wilkinson led the UCM scoring effort with 16 points off the bench. Starter Gaven Pinkley added 12.
The Tigers now look for their sixth straight win on Saturday when they head to Jason Gym on the campus of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. The Tigers are looking to pull into a tie for eighth in the MIAA standings with Lincoln, which sits just one game ahead in the MIAA standings. Tipoff is at 3 pm, which follows the women's contest at 1 pm.