NSU (men) 76, Fort Hays State 61
The theme of the night inside Jack Dobbins Field House was defense, and the men equaled the women’s feat of holding their opponent to a season-low point total.
The RiverHawks (10-1, 3-0 MIAA) trumped the Tigers (8-3, 2-1 MIAA) 76-61, as the league’s top scoring defense (NSU) bettered the league’s second-best scoring offense (FHSU).
“We did an excellent job all night defensively,” NSU coach Larry Gipson said. “Our kids really executed on that end of the floor. The key to the game is we were more persistent defensively then they were offensively.”
Northeastern State held Fort Hays State to just 39 percent shooting (26-for-66) and 22 percent from downtown (4-for-18). The poor shooting carried over to the free-throw line, as the visitors made just 5-of-11 (46 percent).
On the flip side, the RiverHawks shot 45 percent from the field (25-for-56), 47 percent from behind the arc (9-for-19) and 77 percent from the charity stripe (17-for-22). The hot shooting from three-point land included a stretch in the second half where NSU hit 6 of 7.
“We choked them off and didn’t let them score for a long stretch in the middle of the second half,” Gipson said. “We made some shots and were able to build a lead.”
Jermaine Bransford finished with 11 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for his fourth double-double in his last five games. Ethan Anderson led all scorers with a season-high 20 points, Bryton Hobbs dropped 17 and Landon DeMasters added 15.
“We came out a little rusty, but we were able to settle down after a few minutes and take the game over,” Hobbs said. “We’ve been working really hard on defense in practice lately, so I’m happy we were able to slow down such a good offense.”
Lance Russell scored 16 for the Tigers, and Craig Nicholson and Ben Congiusta both added 11. Dwayne Brunson hauled in 12 rebounds.