Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
HAYS – It took five extra minutes, but the Fort Hays State men’s basketball team escaped with its first win of the season Saturday afternoon, knocking off Colorado School of Mines 75-71. Both teams are now 1-2 through three games this season.
The teams were evenly matched all afternoon, with the lead changing hands 19 times and neither side leading by more than six. After Brady Werth tied the game with a put-back layup with 80 seconds left in regulation, the senior gave the Tigers the lead for good after nailing a pair of free throws early in the extra period.
Fort Hays State hit 10-of-11 from the charity stripe in overtime to hold on to the victory, including a perfect 4-for-4 effort from Werth and Kyler Kinnamon. Mines poured in a 3-pointer to close within one on two occasions, but the Tigers had an answer on the offensive end each time. Marcus Cooper made an acrobatic and-one after the first Oredigger triple and Kinnamon drilled a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left after the second. Mines had a shot to tie it with less than 10 seconds to go, but the long-range attempt came up well short.
Werth posted his third career double-double in the victory, totaling 27 points and 11 rebounds. The senior took over in the second half, scoring 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Fort Hays State trailed by as many as six midway through the second half, but a 7-0 run put the Tigers right back in it. Devin Davis hit a jumper in the paint to open the run before Werth went up strong with a layup. Trey O’Neil poured in a triple after Nyjee Wright found him with a perfect pass, putting the Tigers in front and prompting a CSM timeout.
The lead changed hands nine times in the final 11 minutes, with neither side leading by more than three. After Werth tied the game with 80 seconds to go, both sides made two turnovers with a chance to take the lead. The Orediggers had the ball last, with a game-winning three-pointer bouncing off the back iron.
The Tigers spent much of the first half playing from behind before clawing back in front late in the period, leading at the break 31-30. Both sides hit 11-of-26 shots in the opening frame, with the lone difference being an extra free throw for the Tigers.
Cooper opened the scoring for the Tigers with a thundering breakaway dunk after Kinnamon found him with an outlet pass. Davis led all scorers at the break, tallying 11 points in his first half as a Tiger inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Three Tigers joined Werth in double figures, including Davis (15 points), Kinnamon (12) and Cooper (11). Fort Hays State finished the game 27-of-60 from the field (45.0 percent) to go along with hitting 75 percent of its free throws (18-of-24).
The teams were also evenly matched on the boards, with CSM grabbing one more rebound than the Tigers, 35-34. Fort Hays State held a 10-point advantage in the lane, 40-30, while turning 18 Oredigger turnovers into 20 points.
Fort Hays State will look to even its record at 2-2 Sunday (Nov. 18) when it hosts UC-Colorado Springs at 4 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.
NOTABLE: This is the second year in a row the Tigers and Orediggers have needed overtime to find a winner, with Mines winning in double OT last season in Colorado.