Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
Tiger fans can get a first look at the 2019-20 Fort Hays State Men’s Basketball squad on Thursday night when they travel to Lawrence for an exhibition game with the University of Kansas. Tipoff is set for 7 pm at Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be available to purchase for viewing on ESPN+ (WatchESPN) or Big 12 Now.
The Tigers finished at 18-11 overall in 2018-19, while placing fourth in the MIAA regular season standings with a conference mark of 12-7. FHSU ended its season in the MIAA Tournament Quarterfinals in a loss to Lincoln University. The Tigers reached at least 18 wins in a season for the fourth straight year and produced Mark Johnson‘s 17th winning season guiding the Tigers out of 18 seasons overall. Johnson will enter the 2019-20 campaign with an overall record of 359-172 (.676) at FHSU.
Fort Hays State will have several new faces on the court this season. The Tigers return six players from last year, but only four saw time on the floor in 2018-19. Aaron Nicholson, Devin Davis, Jared Vitztum, and Nyjee Wright are among those four, while Calvin Harrington and Gilbert Peters redshirted. Johnson has brought in eight new players this season, looking to mesh with the returning group. Five of the eight are transfers, while the other three are true freshmen.
Nicholson is the top returning scorer for the Tigers, averaging 9.0 points per game last year. Davis was the top scorer off the bench at 8.6 points per game. Both reached double figures in scoring in 12 contests last season. Vitztum, the top returning rebounder, averaged 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Fort Hays State and Kansas last met in exhibition on November 7, 2017. Kansas won 86-57, but not before a challenge from FHSU in the first half. The Tigers held a lead just past 16 minutes into the game, 29-28, before KU took a 38-33 lead into halftime. In fact, the Tigers took the lead five times in the opening half, each by one point. The Jayhawks went on to double up the Tigers in the second half, 48-24.
Following the exhibition game with Kansas on Thursday, FHSU will open its regular season November 8-9 in Russellville, Arkansas where it will face Arkansas Tech and Southwestern Oklahoma State.