Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
EMPORIA – Fort Hays State ran its win streak in Emporia against Emporia State to five games with the help of a career-high 42-point performance from Rob Davis. The Tigers scored the final six points of the game and won 76-71 to split the regular-season series with the Hornets. FHSU is now 12-8 overall, 6-6 in the MIAA, while Emporia State lost its third straight game, falling to 10-11 overall, also 6-6 in the MIAA.
Coming off a season-low seven points against Lindenwood, Davis had a great start in the first half and maintained his scoring pace throughout the night. He had 19 points by halftime, helping the Tigers to a 39-36 advantage at halftime. At that point, he was 6-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 at the free-throw line. The Tigers never trailed in the first half, though the Hornets tied the game twice early.
With a quick four point burst to open the second half, Emporia State grabbed its first lead of the game with 18:11 remaining. From that point the lead changed hands 14 times in the second half. The Tigers used a 6-0 run, all points by Davis, to take a six-point lead with 5:27 remaining. In that burst, Davis tied his career-high with a layup, broke it with his seventh 3-point field goal of the game, and then added a free-throw to reach the 40-point mark. He became the first Tiger in 22 years to score at least 40 in a game, Dennis Edwards being the last in 1995.
Emporia State countered Fort Hays State’s 6-0 run with a 7-0 run to claim the lead back with 3:08 to play. But Davis answered again with a layup to push FHSU back in front by one. A Tyler Jordan dunk was Emporia State’s last basket of the game at the 2:20 mark as the Tigers buckled down to score the final six and claim a fifth-straight win in White Auditorium. Hadley Gillum converted a pair of free-throws with 50 seconds remaining to put the Tigers back on top, then Davis pulled down a big defensive rebound and got it ahead to Brady Werth for a breakaway dunk. Emporia State missed a 3-point attempt in an effort to tie and Kyler Kinnamon secured his team-best sixth rebound of the game. Kinnamon secured the win for FHSU by burying a pair of free throws.
Davis shot a jaw-dropping 70 percent from the field, going 14-of-20 overall. He was 7-of-12 beyond the 3-point line and added a 7-of-9 effort at the free-throw line. Gillum finished with 14 points and Kinnamon added a team-high six assists. The Tigers shot a blistering 56.5 percent from the field for the game, while Emporia State was also good at 50 percent overall. The Tigers were rock-solid from the free-throw line, where they went 15-of-17 (88.2 percent).
The Hornets had five players finish in double figures, led by Jevon Taylor with 17. He went 4-of-7 beyond the 3-point line, despite the remainder of the team going 4-of-18.
The Tigers now rest up for a couple of days before heading to Topeka for a game against Washburn on Saturday (Feb. 4). The women’s and men’s games at Washburn on Saturday are part of the NCAA Division II National Showcase, which will be available on ESPN3. Men’s game is slated at 7 pm, which follows the women’s contest at 5 pm. CLICK HERE for more information on how to watch the games.