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TMP settles for split -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Shields strikes out 12 as Royals complete sweep -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Indian swimmers seventh in Salina -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS softball splits with Salina South -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS baseball swept at Salina South -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Final home games for Tigers -4/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Tiger softball No. 8 in first region rankings -4/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Indian track competes at Valley Center -4/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Hayes is KSU's next big 'Cat -4/17/2014, 10:44 AM

New group for Plainville track -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Otis track team deals with injuries, illness -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Jets land former Titan Chris Johnson -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

HDN Area Track & Field honor roll, April 17 -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Freeman winds up with N.Y. Giants -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Tigers win on grand slam -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Weber gets extension at K-State -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

HHS' Weigel becomes a Cowboy -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

Humburg jumping well for Ness City -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Doubles team rolls at HHS Invitational -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

HHS soccer improves to 6-2, beats Great Bend -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Prep golf results, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger tennis ends MIAA season in loss -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger golfers ninth in St. Charles, Mo. -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Track results, Redmen Relays, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys win at Ellsworth -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP softball sweeps Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP soccer suffers loss at Garden City -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys' golf third at Goodland -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP baseball rolls past Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

HHS baseball splits with Junction City -4/15/2014, 9:53 AM

TMP softball swept at Colby -4/15/2014, 10:10 AM

TMP golf begins season today -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

HHS soccer rallies for victory -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Rare time off for Tiger softball -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

KSU, WSU Barnstormers coming to Hays -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Watson wins Masters -4/14/2014, 10:08 AM

Royals swept by Twins -4/14/2014, 10:07 AM

Harvick wins at Darlington -4/13/2014, 6:51 AM

Royals ace James Shields struggles in loss to Twins -4/13/2014, 6:42 AM

K-State's Deante Burton feels ready to take his game up a notch -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

Former Jayhawks address football team about facing struggles -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

HHS basketball camp May 27 to 29 -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

Tigers’ Wolf second at K.T. Woodman -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

FHSU tennis drops pair of MIAA outings -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

FHSU softball 3-1 in weekend -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger offense shines in Spring Game -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger baseball 1-3 in series -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

Mattheyer jumps onto scene at Ellis -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

HHS golf finishes second in Garden City -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

HHS pitcher, catcher share chemistry -4/13/2014, 7:56 AM

HHS relay team wins Elite -4/12/2014, 6:37 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Tiger men look to finish strong

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Tiger men look to finish strong

Published on -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

NCAA Division II has 19 teams with three or fewer losses, according to masseyratings.com. None are in the Central Region, which consists of the MIAA, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and Great American Conference.

The GAC is a weaker league and will likely earn just one NCAA tournament berth through an automatic bid.

The MIAA and Northern Sun should collect the other seven regional spots. The MIAA has its usual top-to-bottom strength, while the NSIC has a strong upper half. Northwest Missouri State University leads the MIAA at 13-2, but lost four times in non-conference play.

NWSU and Fort Hays State University (19-4, 10-4 MIAA) are two of seven MIAA/NSIC teams with four or five losses. Barring massive changes, one of those could earn the regional host bid.

With five regular season games and four at home, Tiger coach Mark Johnson believes FHSU still has a small chance to host.

"We would have to probably go 5-0, and then win the conference tournament," Johnson said Thursday afternoon. "But if we did that, I think that could be a possibility."

FHSU's immediate goal is securing a top-four seed in the MIAA standings and a first-round bye to the conference tournament. Northwest Missouri is first, followed by University of Central Missouri (12-3), FHSU and Missouri Southern State University (10-4).

The Tigers are 0-3 against those squads. University of Central Oklahoma is fifth at 9-6 -- Fort Hays defeated UCO and will face both UCO and Washburn (8-7) again before the regular season closes.

"Central Oklahoma is a dangerous team," Johnson said. "That's going to be a big game for us. If we can put ourselves in a position where we have got a bye to Kansas City - 4-1 is probably what we are going to have to do worst case. If we take care of that, those other things might be there for us."

On Saturday, the Tigers, after a week off, play host to Pittsburg State University (7-14, 3-11 MIAA) in a 4 p.m. start at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

"We can't get comfortable knowing that it's our home," senior forward Dwayne Brunson said. "Thinking that teams are just going to roll over and give us the win. We have got to be more hungry, and we got to come out ready to play when we are at home knowing our fans don't want to come out and see us lose."

A win gives FHSU a 20-4 record and Johnson his eighth 20-win season in 13 years, breaking the school record. Pittsburg State has had trouble winning close games. Johnson said the Gorillas could easily be 8-6. On the other hand, if FHSU didn't have any breaks, Johnson believed FHSU could be 5-9.

On Jan. 25, FHSU won at PSU, 78-75. Fort Hays has won five straight against the Gorillas in Hays. Devon Branch leads the Gorillas with 20.7 points per contest.

"Every game, we take it very seriously, because the game could go either way," Brunson said. "If we don't come out and play, we know we could lose."

Senior guard Carson Konrade, hobbled by an ankle injury suffered in practice, has improved. Junior reserve forward Jared Tadlock will miss Saturday's contest to attend his grandmother's funeral.

Tadlock provided another 3-point option versus a zone-heavy Gorilla defense.

FHSU is 8-3 in road contests, the most road wins among MIAA teams.

"It doesn't matter if it's home or away," Johnson said. "I think our focus has been pretty good most games. I think Kearney (a road loss Feb. 5) has been the one game this year where we weren't into it like we needed to be."

The Tigers have an average road score of 82.3-75.2. In home contests, FHSU has an average score of 88.6-75.5.

In the 14-team MIAA, Fort Hays has the fifth-smallest difference in scoring offense between home/road. It's the league's smallest home/road difference in scoring defense. In Johnson's eyes, FHSU had trouble closing home contests.

"It's a testament to our guys," Johnson said. "It's not easy to go on the road and play games. I don't think they have let that bother them. At the same time, I wish we were playing a little better at home than we have. We need to do better the last four home games than maybe we have done previously."

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