The Fort Hays State University men’s basketball team played its second game of the season in Hays on Wednesday against NAIA competitor Central Christian College from McPherson.
FHSU defeated CCC 85-66 to get its second win of the season.
This marks the fourth game of the season for FHSU, but it’s only the second regular season game. This was an exhibition game for CCC, but counts towards regular season for FHSU.
The Tigers came into the game with a 1-0 record while CCC came in with a record of 4-0.
The game started off with an early score from CCC’s Mike Francois. The Tigers’ junior guard Dominique Jones then answered back with a 3-pointer that began a 9-0 run from the Tigers that included a field goal and pair of free throws from senior forward Tim Peintner before CCC’s Sean High hit his first of six 3-pointers of the night.
The Tigers were leading 15-8 early in the first half before CCC went on an 8-0 run of its own before sophomore Ben Congiusta hit a 3-pointer. CCC went on another run mid way through the half. FHSU and CCC traded baskets throughout the rest of the half, failing to complete a buzzer beater, and headed into the locker rooms tied 35-35.
There were eight lead changes in the first half. The largest lead was seven by FHSU. CCC had better shooting percentages than the Tigers in field goal (45 percent to 36 percent) and 3-point shooting (38 percent to 20 percent) percentage. The Tigers led in free-throw percentage (100 percent to 0 percent).
The second half started with CCC gaining a 42-37 lead over FHSU before the Tigers went on the largest point run of the night. Their 10-point run started off with two 3-pointers from Jones and senior guard Orrin Greer and ended with two free-throw points from CCC’s High.
High was limited to one field goal in the second half after a 24-point first half performance. However, he went to the line eight times, hitting 16 of 17 shots.
The Tigers improved their 3-point shooting, hitting eight 3-pointers in the second half while limiting CCC to just one.
The Tigers really hit a stride, going on a 12-3 run midway through the second half to set the tempo for the rest of the game.
CCC led only once in the second half before the Tigers took a lead they would never relinquish.
The highest lead of the game came from Fort Hays, leading by 19 with 23 seconds left in the game.
Peintner had the only double-double of the game, leading the Tigers with 10 rebounds (second on the team) and 22 points. CCC’s High had a 42-point game, which was the highest individual score against the Tigers so far this season.
“Number 12 (High) is a great player,” Peintner said. “You can’t take anything away from him. He gets a lot of shots. He’s making a lot of plays happen.”
FHSU dominated the boards, out rebounding CCC 54-30 in total rebounds and also in points in the paint (40-12).
Herrman led the team and the overall game with 11 total rebounds.
“Thank gosh for Ryan Herrman,” Peintner said. “He was in there still goin’; his motor was still goin’. You can always count on him.”
Herrman wasn’t a starter at forward this game but brought a lot of energy off the bench. The Tigers had 20 points off the bench compared to CCC’s one.
The Tigers outscored CCC 50-31 in the second half, credited to game-plan changes made by coach Mark Johnson.
“I told them to be more focused and play harder,” said Johnson. “Either we were not ready to play or we weren’t focused or we were shooting poorly. I think in the second half we handled the ball better and made better shots.”
The Tigers’ next game will be Nov. 30 against the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
“I think the only positive we can take from this game is that our team faced adversity,” Johnson said. “We were down five early in the second half, and it could have easily gone south from there.”