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Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger men fall at Pitt -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tigers drop to 0-2 with losses to Mines, Regis -2/15/2015, 1:10 AM

KU coach kicks off tour in Hays -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

K-State guard Johnson laughs off hecklers at W. Virginia -2/13/2015, 10:13 AM

The Tigers' do-it-all Shaw -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

Samac staying on court, providing big games for Tigers -2/13/2015, 11:09 AM

Wichita State baseball players see winning as antidote to distractions -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals, Herrera agree -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals purchase contract of Derek Gordon -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

KU's Ellis near 1,000 points -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Hoxies' record just a matter of time? -2/12/2015, 3:26 PM

New coach, new season for FHSU softball -2/12/2015, 11:25 AM

Tigers look for better pitching in 2015 -2/12/2015, 10:14 AM

Shox roll to win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Kansas State rally again falls short at W. Virginia -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

FHSU wrestling rolls to dual win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

2015 Eight-Man All-Star rosters -2/11/2015, 11:54 AM

Indiana State backcourt thrives with new characters -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Scott City rolls over TMP -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Jayhawks cruise past Texas Tech -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Kansas State braces for Mountaineers' full-court press -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Salina Central outlasts Hays High -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Tigers' Lehman earns seventh MIAA honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

FHSU's Samac earns MIAA men's honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

KBCA rankings, Feb. 9 -2/9/2015, 1:47 PM

Big day for Plainville grad Dani Winters -2/9/2015, 11:24 AM

Cowboys' Forte plays through flu -2/9/2015, 10:17 AM

At KU, Smith played on scout team -2/9/2015, 10:16 AM

North Carolina coaching icon Dean Smith dies at 83 -2/8/2015, 5:19 PM

Wichita State easily beats weakened Missouri State -2/8/2015, 4:52 PM

FHSU men hold off Hornets -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

TMP's Rhoades third in Phillipsburg -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

TMP girls win 13th straight -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

Defense lifts TMP boys past Norton -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

La Crosse boys nab big road win -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

Hays High's Hannah Hearld will miss softball season -2/8/2015, 12:46 PM

Tiger women outlast ESU for 21st straight win -2/8/2015, 1:13 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

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
Tigers deliver exciting win

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Tigers deliver exciting win

Published on -2/27/2014, 10:28 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Coach Mark Johnson perpetually wears a serious, near stoic look after Fort Hays State University victories.

Johnson showed a rare outburst of emotion and joy Wednesday night at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

His Tigers trailed by eight with 3:05 remaining, but managed to win 80-79 against University of Central Oklahoma when sophomore point guard Craig Nicholson went full court for a layup with 1.6 seconds remaining.

The Bronchos' desperation trey at the buzzer hit off the bottom of the backboard.

Then Johnson clenched his fists, let out a celebratory yell near half court and high-fived his players. He was proud of the victory, but also FHSU's fight to bounce back from an 0-3 start in MIAA play.

Fort Hays has gone 13-2 in league action since the losing streak, including three overtime victories and three others by three points or fewer. With the victory, FHSU moved to 22-5, 13-5 MIAA, and clinched the fourth seed and the final first-round bye into the conference tournament next week in Kansas City, Mo.

"A pretty special group that is able to do that," Johnson said. "I am just happy for them that they are able to do that. It's a big accomplishment, to go from where we are at to where we are today."

The Tigers, ranked No. 6 in the Central Region, sealed the season series against UCO, ninth regionally at 17-8, 11-7 MIAA. The Bronchos would have taken the fourth seed with a victory.

FHSU won at UCO 101-97 in overtime Jan. 16 when the Tigers trailed by three in the final 22 seconds of regulation. Nicholson called Wednesday the season's craziest victory -- and the most emotion he has seen from his coach.

"When you see him do that, it gets you even more pumped up," Nicholson said. "It was a great win."

After the 0-3 start, Fort Hays went to Missouri Southern in the first game after holiday break. The Lions were 9-1, and Tiger senior forward Dwayne Brunson had a bad knee that continues to bother him.

FHSU won 76-67 and eventually vaulted from last in the league to another 20-win season. FHSU closes out the regular season Friday at home against Northeastern State (Okla.) University.

"Honestly, we just don't have the ability level to have great separation," Johnson said. "There is no one that we are going to play that we are just going to blow off the court. We just don't have that kind of ability. But you can accomplish a lot when you've got a little belief in yourself, and you've got a little toughness, and you just be resilient and you keep battling."

Fort Hays led 37-27 at halftime against a Broncho offense Johnson considers the league's best.

"They were just off," Johnson said. "That first half was just kind of a little different than what I thought the game would be."

UCO, led by 22 points and nine rebounds from senior Josh Gibbs, took a 76-68 lead. Nicholson thought about having a play-in game for the league tournament next week, an outcome he didn't desire.

"Really could have put our heads down and just packed it in, and we just kept coming, kept coming, kept coming," Johnson said.

FHSU followed with five straight points, including a rare half court steal from senior forward Dwayne Brunson. Brunson (11 points, 11 rebounds) picked UCO sophomore Aaron Anderson off the dribble, a turnover that led to a 3-point play from Nicholson and a 76-73 deficit with 2:15 left.

"You will be surprised," Nicholson said. " When it comes to hedging, he will steal a lot of balls. He got me a couple times down in preseason. He can do that really well."

UCO pushed the lead back to 79-73 before senior Carson Konrade sunk a 3 from the left side with 1:25 left.

Fort Hays inserted senior forward Marty Wendel for defensive purposes in the final three minutes. Wendel bottled up Gibbs and forced an off-balance jumper as the shot clock wound down.

"He did a great job," Johnson said. "He battled Gibbs."

Nicholson responded with two free throws that cut the score to 79-78 with 45 seconds left.

"The last two minutes, I had to get the guys together and tell them, 'Hey, we've got to stick together and just fight and get stops, so we can score,'" Nicholson said.

Then, FHSU delivered great defense again in the half court. UCO sophomore Seth Heckart missed a wild trey in the final seconds of the shot clock. He tried to grab a long rebound, but went out of bounds. FHSU called timeout with 7.7 seconds remaining.

"It started looking good, and then once we got that last stop, I just knew that it was going to be over, because I will finish this," Nicholson said.

Nicholson, who led the Tigers with 25 points, received a big screen from Wendel, weaved his way down the court, and, with little contact, made a layup on the right side. Nicholson said he's never been "that open" in the lane for a final shot.

As 3,177 fans cheered, Nicholson simply smiled.

After the buzzer sounded and Johnson's emotions, assistant coach Jeremy Brown found Nicholson just outside the locker room. Brown smiled, clasped Nicholson's hand and pulled him in for a celebratory bear hug.

"When I made it, I was happy, because I know a lot of times I have been shooting and I miss," Nicholson said. "It was nice to see it finally go in when it matters."

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