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Tiger men look to bounce back

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News

After seeing its win streak snapped against a tough Missouri Western squad, the Fort Hays State men will look to bounce back against Central Missouri at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Warrensburg, Mo. 

FHSU senior Jared Vitztum is averaging a double-double for the Tigers/

The Tigers are coming off an 84-76 loss at Missouri Western, which improved to 6-1 on the season. 

"I thought we just played quick," FHSU coach Mark Johnson said. "We let the moment get ahold of us, they sped us up. Their press was something that gave us problems with turning it over.

"Again in the first half, I thought our physicality and defensive effort were good. We matched their physicality, and they're an awfully big team. So that was a good sign. We just couldn't sustain it."

FHSU senior forward Jared Vitztum is averaging a double-double for the Tigers with 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. 

"I would argue he's the best defensive rebounder we've had," Johson said. "He really clears the glass, and we need that. We really struggle on the defensive end and we have the best defensive rebounder, so that shows you how much our other guys need to improve and do better on the glass.

"He has quick feet. He just kind of has a knack for being able to get the ball."

Johnson said the Tigers are continuing to look to get sophomore forward Gilbert Peters more involved. Peters scored 11 against Missouri Western. 

"He finished well against good size," he said. "He's shooting 72 percent from the field so I think we obviously need to get him the ball more. I don't know if we necessarily need to play through him, but he needs more touches when he's in there."

Central Missouri enters with a 1-6 record but Johnson said the record is a bit misleading. 

"If you look at the standings, they played the top five teams all on the road," Johnson said. "And their two home games were Missouri Southern and Pitt. 

"They got a couple of Division I guards. The (Cameron) Hunter kid is one of the better players in the league. They're much more athletic. They're playing faster.

"That gym has always been a tough place to shoot, and we need to make some shots."