Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
EMPORIA – Fort Hays State reached a historic milestone Saturday (Dec. 9) by recording its 100th win all-time against Emporia State. The Tigers grabbed a 69-58 road win over the Hornets to improve to 7-3 overall and 3-1 in the MIAA. Emporia State dropped to 5-5 overall and 1-1 in the MIAA. This was the 183rd meeting in history between the teams, with FHSU moving to 100-83 all-time in the series tally.
The lead changed hands four times in the first half before an 8-0 run gave the Tigers a 15-10 lead. The Tigers continued to build on the lead with it reaching 10 points twice at the 7:45 and 5:00 marks of the first half. FHSU went on to lead by nine at the half, 34-25. Hadley Gillum led the Tigers with 10 points at the break, followed by Brady Werth with six.
Held ESU to 30.8 percent in the first half (22.2) beyond the 3-point line, while shooting 56 percent from the field.
The Tigers extended their lead to 13 points, 41-28, early in the second half, but the Hornets stormed back with a 17-2 run to take a three-point lead, 48-45, with 10:28 to go. The Hornets pushed their lead to three one more time before Aaron Nicholson tied the game with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 8:17 to go. Nicholson, who came up big for the Tigers in the final 10 minutes of the game, triggered a 9-0 Tiger run with the shot. Fort Hays State held Emporia State scoreless for 5:43 during that run as FHSU led 56-50 with 4:51 to go in the game.
Emporia State cut the lead to three after a field goal and converting one of two free throws, but a layup by Werth at the 3:40 mark pushed the lead back to five. Then Nicholson buried a back-breaking 3-pointer with 2:29 to go to extend the lead to eight with 2:29 to go. Gillum capped a quick 7-0 burst by the Tigers with a driving layup at the 1:44 mark to push the lead to 10. Emporia State provided little resistance the rest of the way as FHSU went on to win 69-58.
Nicholson scored all 10 of his points in the final 10 minutes of the game. Gillum led the Tigers with his third double-double of the season, producing 21 points and 12 rebounds. He was 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-6 at the free-throw line. Werth also reached double figures with 14 points. Kyler Kinnamon dished out a team-high seven assists.
The Tigers held Emporia State to just 35.1 percent shooting from the field, which included just a 30.8 percent effort in the first half. FHSU held Emporia State to just three field goals over the final 10 minutes of the game. FHSU countered with a 51 percent effort from the field (26-of-51) and outrebounded ESU by three (34-31).
The Tigers return home for three straight non-conference games to close out the month of December. FHSU starts the stretch with Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday, December 16 at 4 pm inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.