From staff reports
HAYS, Kan. —
After seeing most of a 10-point halftime lead disappear, Fort Hays State broke away midway through the second half and downed Missouri Southern 83-69 in front of 3,277 fans Saturday afternoon at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The Lions (9-10, 4-7 MIAA) trailed 43-33 at halftime but quickly cut the deficit in half as Jordan Talbert hit a 3-pointer and Marquis Addison made a jumper. They climbed within two points twice in a six-minute span, the last time at 55-53 on Addison’s three-point play with 10:44 left.
But the Tigers (13-6, 7-4) ran off eight straight points — the last four when Carson Konrade was fouled as he hit a 3-point goal and added the free throw — for a 63-53 lead with 9:00 to play. The lead grew to 72-55 on Konrade’s tipin with 5:34 remaining.
“We started out in a zone in the second half, got some stops and got some baskets in transition,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “A big turning point was when we were down four with the ball and had a turnover, and they went and scored. We came down again, got nothing, and they hit the 3 and got fouled. All of a sudden it’s a 10-point game again after two possessions.
“We had momentum going our way and had them back on their heels. But we allowed them to get life, and once they got life, they didn’t give us anything back.”
Talbert, 6-foot-5 junior, hit 7-of-11 field goals and paced the Lions with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots in 32 minutes.
Addison contributed 14 points and four assists, and R.J. Leverette and freshman Blaine Miller scored 11 apiece as the Lions suffered their fifth straight loss. Leverette’s 3-pointer gave the Lions their only lead, 18-16 midway through the first half, but the Tigers went back ahead 30 seconds later on a Konrade 3 that ignited a 10-0 spurt.
“We’re not good enough right now to fight through mistakes,” Corn said. “Defensively or offensively, if we make a mistake, we get burned by it. We have to play awful good to give ourselves a chance, and we haven’t been playing that well.”
Konrade, who made three of the Tigers’ eight treys, and Lance Russell, who had 14 first-half points, finished with 18 points apiece. Dwayne Brunson added 16, and Craig Nicholson had 15 points and 10 assists as the Tigers shot 49 percent to the Lions’ 44 percent and converted 23-of-26 free throws to MSSU’s 10-of-14.
“We have to get to the free-throw line more,” Corn said. “We relied too much on jump shots, and when we tried to go inside early, they swatted it back at us.”