The Blue Tigers of Lincoln University proved to be an easy match for the Fort Hays Men’s Basketball Team Friday night as the Tigers beat the Blue Tigers 87-53 at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The win sets Fort Hays at 13-5 overall for the season in MIAA conference standings, and 19-7 in overall MIAA standings. With this win, the Tigers clinched a spot in the MIAA tournament, along with a bye, to Kansas City.
Despite their win, the Tigers struggled to maintain an early lead as the Blue Tigers received the ball at tip off. The Blue Tigers shot a 2-pointer shortly after tip off setting up a 2-0 lead. However, the Tigers came back to tie the game with a 2-point shot of their own at 18:45 after a successful rebound.
Lincoln continued to maintain their lead as they scored another 5 points. FHSU attempted to close the gap as they shot a 3-pointer at 17:42. Lincoln rebounded the ball at 16:47, shooting a 2-pointer to take their lead to 9-5.
After both teams making a few shots, freshman Craig Nicholson gave his team a 11-9 lead at 15:02 by shooting a 3-point shot.
After Nicholson’s shot, the Tigers continued to maintain their lead throughout the first half. Nicholson lead his team in the first half with 12 total points, followed by seniors Ben Congiusta and Lance Russell with 8 and 6 points scored respectively.
The Tiger defense was at its best as the team racked up a total of 19 defensive rebounds in the first half, led by junior Dwayne Brunson with 5. FHSU was able to rack up 19 defensive rebounds due to Lincoln’s lackluster performance.
Lincoln only made 34.3% of their 2-point shots and only 8.3% of their 3-point shots in the first half, allowing an opportunity for the Tigers to get the rebound.
The Tigers proved very successful in making their own shots as they were able to make 70% of their 3-point shots and 52% of their total 2-point shots. FHSU also did well when it came to free throws, making 7 out of 8 (87.5%) of its total free throws. The team was led by Nicholson with four free throw shots, followed by Brunson with 2.
After struggling in the first few minutes, the Tigers led by as much as 19 points at 4:19 and were ahead at the half 40-25.
The Tigers continued to maintain their lead, leading by as much as 39 points at 5:21 in the second half. Nicholson again led the team with 11 total points in the second half, and a game total of 23 points. Junior Carson Konrade and Brunson followed Nicholson with 9 total points scored in the second half.
The Tigers continued to rack up rebounds with a total of 22 total rebounds in the second half. Of these rebounds, they made a 15 defensive rebounds. This again came as a result of the Blue Tigers’ failed 3-point shots as they only made three of their ten 3-point shots.
The Tigers continued to do well in the second half when it came to shooting as they 62.5% of their total 2-point shots.
In the end, the Tigers won the game by a 34 point margin, defeating the Blue Tigers 87-53. The Tigers will play next in the MIAA tournament in Kansas City, Mo. where they are the number one seed. As a result of their ranking, they have earned a bye. The Tigers will face number nine seeded Missouri Southern in the first round of the MIAA tournament on March 7.