Tigers pull away in second half at Northeastern State
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - After being tied at halftime, Fort Hays State pulled away from Northeastern State in the second half for a 15-point road victory, 73-58, on Saturday (Feb. 13). It was the largest winning margin of the season for the Tigers, now 9-9 on the season. FHSU finished its three games in four days road trip to Oklahoma 2-1 and remain in the thick of contention for the MIAA Tournament with four games remaining in the season.
Fort Hays State trended upward for the remainder of the game after falling down by 10 through the first nine minutes of the game. The Tigers outscored the Griffons 22-12 over the final 11 minutes of the half to get the game level at the break.
The Tigers used steady bursts to pull away from the RiverHawks in the second half. They opened the second half on an 11-4 run to build a seven point lead over the first 2:15 used on the clock. FHSU was 4-of-4 from the field in that run with a pair of 3-point field goals and a 3-point play. A 9-5 burst from the 14:15 to 11:00 marks upped the advantage to 11 points as the Tigers went 3-of-3 from the field in that stretch and 2-of-2 at the charity stripe.
After the RiverHawks trimmed the lead back to nine, the Tigers jetted their lead out to 16 points with a 7-0 run, capped at the 6:41 mark. Jordan Pumphrey made two of the three baskets during the run, while Jared Vitztum supplied the other on a 3-point field goal. FHSU went into cruise control from that point and eventually won by 15.
Vitztum finished with his NCAA Division II-leading 10th double-double of the season, producing 14 points and 12 rebounds. Needing just five rebounds entering the day to reach 600 in his career, Vitztum became the eight player in FHSU Men's Basketball history to have at least 1,000 points and 600 rebounds in his career. He joined Barton Snow, Mike Pauls, Alonzo Goldston, Rege Klitzke, Mike Miller, Corbin Kuntzsch and Nate Rollins on the list. Vitztum went past the 1,000-point mark earlier this week in the win at Central Oklahoma.
Quinten Rock led the Tiger scoring effort with 19 points, hitting four 3-point field goals and making all five of his free-throw attempts. Pumphrey also reached double figures in scoring with 12 points, while Kaleb Hammeke had a team-high seven assists. FHSU outshot NSU 46.2 to 36.8 percent from the field, hitting three more field goals. FHSU had a 16-9 advantage on made free throws and shot 94.1 percent at the line, missing only one attempt for the day.
Trey Sampson led the RiverHawks with 19 points, while Troy Locke followed with 15. Obi Agu pulled down eight rebounds for NSU, while Brad Davis provided a team-high five assists.
The Tigers now had three consecutive home games in front of them, facing Lincoln and Central Missouri next week on Thursday (Feb. 18) and Saturday (Feb. 20) before hosting Missouri Western in a make up game on Feb. 23 that was postponed from earlier in the season.