By GERARD WELLBROCK
Jake Stoppel scored a career-high 18 points and Craig Nicholson added 17, hitting some key free throws down the stretch, to lead the Fort Hays State Tigers to a 78-72 victory over Nebraska-Kearney in front of 4,184 Saturday afternoon at Gross Coliseum. The win improves the Tigers to 21-5 and 12-5 in the MIAA. The Lopers have lost two straight and fall to 12-12 and 8-9 in the conference.
The Tigers led by as many as 12 in the first half, but the Lopers answered with a 16-6 run to pull within two before FHSU settled for a 41-36 halftime lead. UNK would grab a couple of one-point leads, the last with 14:01 to play. The Tigers respond with an 11-0 run to go up 60-50 with 9:02 to play.
A Mike Detlinger 3-pointers pulled the Lopers within one with 4:39 to play. Craig Nicholson converted on a three-point play with 1:02 to go to push the lead to five.
Both teams shot below 40-percent from the floor in the second half and both made their free throws. FHSU finished 24-of-26 from the line and UNK 27-30. The Tigers outscored the Lopers 40-22 in the paint.
Nebraska-Kearney was led in scoring by Ethan Brozek’s 20 points.
Mark Johnson Postgame Interview