Tiger men end season with loss to top-ranked Bearcats

FHSU Sports Information
Fort Hays' Kaleb Hammeke drives into the lane against Northwest Missouri State Saturday at Bearcat Arena.

MARYVILLE, Mo. – Fort Hays State Men's Basketball dropped its final regular season contest at No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri State on Saturday (Feb. 27). The Bearcats finished the season 21-1 by defeating the Tigers 87-62. Fort Hays State finished in a three-way tie for seventh in the MIAA standings, but did not advance to the eight-team MIAA Tournament due to tiebreaker criteria. FHSU wraps its season at 11-11 overall.

Northwest Missouri State never trailed, building a 15-point lead of 45-30 by halftime. The largest lead for the Bearcats was 30 points at the 4:30 mark of the second half. Though the Tigers shot a respectable 47.8 percent from the field, Northwest Missouri's 64 percent effort from the field overall and 55.6 percent clip beyond the 3-point line was too much for the Tigers to overcome. The Bearcats hit 15 3-point field goals compared to just three for the Tigers.

The Bearcats had five players reach double figures in scoring, led by Ryan Hawkins with 24 points. He was 9-of-14 from the field. Diego Bernard led the Bearcats in assists with nine. Hawkins, Wes Dreamer, and Trevor Hudgins all hit four 3-point field goals in the game.

Bjarni Jonsson was the only Tiger to reach double figures in scoring with 10 points. He was 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 at the free-throw line. Jared Vitztum pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

The Tigers finished in a tie for seventh with Rogers State and Emporia State. Rogers State took the No. 7 seed by having a 2-1 record among the three teams tied. Since FHSU and Emporia State were both 1-2 among the group, Emporia took the No. 8 seed by virtue of their head-to-head win over FHSU in the only meeting of the season.

Jared Vitztum finished the season with a team-best 18.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Quinten Rock (12.1) and Kaleb Hammeke (10.7) also finished with a double-figure scoring average.