No. 9 Tigers too much for falling Grizzlies
HAYS, Kan.— The Fort Hays State University Tigers used a 9-0 run over the final three minutes of the first half to build a 31-20 halftime edge before holding off a late Adams State College rally to claim a 57-49 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win in front of a 3,325-person crown on Saturday night in the Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The Tigers, ranked ninth in this week’s NABC/Division II Poll, have now won seven straight overall and 26 straight home games. FHSU, 14-1 overall, is now a perfect 7-0 in RMAC play, good for a share of the overall conference lead with arch-rival Nebraska-Kearney. The Grizzlies dropped their sixth straight game and are now 5-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
The Tigers were led by Denolus Howard and Derrick Turner who combined for 23 points. ASC was guided by Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.), who had a game-high 13 points, and Richard Mincey, who chipped in 11 thanks to a perfect shooting effort off the bench.
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-2 lead but allowed the Grizzlies to tie it at 13 with an 11-2 spurt over the next 5:48. The Tigers then went on a 9-0 run led by seven Howard and Turner points before ASC closed to within two on a David Hull (Belen, N.M.) 3-pointer and back-to back Moniak layups.
Then, with 2:45 to go in the first period, Maurice Henson scored a put-back layup triggering the important Tiger stretch.
FHSU continued the pressure and built the lead to as many as 16 before a 9-1 run keyed by two Hull buckets allowed the Grizzlies to pull with 47-40 with 5:40 to go.
A Mincey 3-point play with three minutes to go cut that deficit to just six (51-45) before the Tigers hit all six of their free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
Free throw shooting and rebounding were the only major differences, statistically. FHSU was a solid 19 of 23 (82.6 percent) from the line while the Grizzlies managed to get to the line just 11 times, making seven, a 63.6 percent success rate. The Tigers also had a 32-25 rebounding edge. They had a 20-12 lead in that category at halftime.
The Grizzlies were 19 of 46 (41.3 percent) from the field and held the Tigers to a slightly-lower 40.5 percent (17-for-42 effort). Both teams made four long distance calls.
The Grizzlies did have a 17-8 edge in assists, thanks to a career and game-high eight from sophomore point guard Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.). Charles, Jr. also matched a career-high with four steals to help ASC to a 10-7 edge in that category.
Mincey was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the line. Rajshad Anderson (Lewisville, Texas) was also a deadly 3-for-5 from 3-point territory and overall while scoring a career-high nine points. Hull, playing in just his third game after returning from a severe knee injury added seven.
The Grizzlies, just 1-6 in road games, return home to Plachy Hall, where they are 3-1, for a Tuesday night tilt against Fort Lewis College. The Skyhawks, 8-5 (4-2 RMAC) as of Friday, were leading the RMAC West Division over the Grizzlies and Mesa State by just one game heading into their Saturday night game at Chadron State.
Tip-off with the Skyhawks is at 8 p.m. and can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.
All fans that come to the doubleheader, which starts with a 6 p.m. women’s game, by 7 o’clock will receive free admission as part of ASC’s “Pack the House” promotion.