Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

March 1, 2014

Northeastern State men ruin Senior Night for Fort Hays State

NSU women drop 6th straight game

HAYS, Kan. – The Northeastern State men’s basketball team upset Fort Hays State 75-72 Friday night inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.

The RiverHawks (14-12, 9-10 MIAA) spoiled Senior Night for six Tigers, kept hopes of a home playoff game alive and also guaranteed a winning final season for retiring coach Larry Gipson. The loss for FHSU (22-6, 13-6 MIAA) was the first at home since Dec. 21 and just the second all season (12-2).

NSU will learn its fate in the MIAA Championship on Saturday when Washburn travels to Pittsburg State for a 3:30 p.m. tip. If the Ichabods win, they will earn the No. 8 seed in the tournament and will play host to Northeastern State in the first round on March 3. If they lose to the Gorillas, then the RiverHawks will host WU on March 3 in the 8-9 matchup. Washburn is currently on a six-game road losing streak, but the team defeated Pittsburg State 83-80 in Topeka on Jan. 18.

In the victory over the Tigers, senior guard Bryton Hobbs clinched the MIAA regular-season scoring title with a 30-point effort. He was 9-of-15 from the field and 10-of-10 at the free-throw line. He also added seven rebounds and seven assists. Junior forward Landon DeMasters was the only other member of the team in double figures, as he finished with 15 points.

NSU shot 55 percent (22-for-40) from the field, 52.9 percent (9-for-17) from downtown and 84.6 percent (22-for-26) at the free-throw line. The RiverHawks posted their best shooting percentage since Jan. 9 and their best percentage from beyond the arc since Dec. 19.

Fort Hays State shot 49.2 percent (29-for-59) from the field, 53.3 percent (8-for-15) from distance and 42.9 percent (6-for-14) at the charity stripe. Seniors Dwayne Brunson (22 points) and Carson Konrade (18 points) combined for 40 points in a losing effort on their Senior Night. Craig Nicholson added 13 points for the home side.

FHSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but NSU battled back and moved ahead 18-17 with 10:08 left in the first half. Brunson connected on a jumper on the Tigers’ next possession and they never trailed again until late in the game.

Fort Hays State had an 11-point first-half lead at one point, but the team settled for a 43-36 cushion at intermission.

The RiverHawks were able to dwindle down the deficit and tie the game at 53-53 with 11:03 left following a 9-0 run.

The Tigers jumped back on top by five, but an 8-1 run capped by a three from junior guard Dalen Qualls gave NSU its first lead of the second half with 6:53 to play.

The two teams exchanged the lead over the next five minutes, but a layup from Hobbs with 1:40 remaining put Northeastern State on top for good. NSU scored on its last four possessions, with all eight points coming from Hobbs.

The RiverHawks held Fort Hays State to just 29 points in the second half, which marked the first time all season FHSU failed to reach 30 points in the final 20 minutes. This was also the first time this year NSU held an opponent to less than 30 second-half points.

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