Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
TOPEKA, Kan. – Fort Hays State played great defense and Emir Sabic scored a career-high 15 points in a 70-54 win at Washburn on Saturday. The Tigers improved to 13-8 overall, 7-6 in the MIAA in front of a national audience on ESPN3, while the Ichabods dropped to 14-8 overall, 6-7 in the MIAA. It snapped a five-game losing skid for the Tigers inside Lee Arena, where they had not won since the 2010-11 season.
Fort Hays State held Washburn to just 29.3 percent shooting from the field, which included a 22.2 percent effort beyond the 3-point line (4-of-18). Washburn also had a rough night at the free-throw line, where it hit at just a 59.3 percent rate as a team. The biggest struggles at the line came from Brady Skeens, who was 2-of-8.
With the game tied 20-20, Fort Hays State used a 7-2 run to close out the first half. The Tigers led 27-22 at the break, holding the Ichabods to just 28.1 percent shooting at that point.
Up by just one at the 16:09 mark of the second half, Sabic sparked the Tigers on a 10-0 run. He started the run by hitting a three-pointer, then after a Drew Kite layup, Sabic buried his fourth three-pointer of the game. He then immediately came up with a steal, getting the ball ahead to Rob Davis for a breakaway layup. The Tigers led by 11 at the 13:45 mark.
With Washburn struggling offensively, FHSU never let WU closer than seven points the rest of the way. A pair of Davis free-throws pushed the Tigers into a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game at the 4:03 mark. Sabic put an exclamation point on his 5-of-6 effort from beyond the 3-point line with 29 seconds remaining, pushing the Tigers to the final margin of 16 points. His previous career-high was 10 points against Kansas Christian earlier this year.
Ja Quan Smith also had a solid night, earning his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Grant Holmes had a team-high four assists.
Cameron Wiggins and Isaac Clark led Washburn in scoring with 10 points each. Skeens had a team-best 11 rebounds.
Rob Davis finished with eight points for the Tigers, leaving him at 999 points as a Tiger. He looks to reach the 1,000 mark at home next week.
With two wins on the road this week at in-state rival schools, the Tigers climbed back above .500 in the MIAA. They host Northeastern State on Thursday in Hays at 7:30 pm.