Jan. 31, 2009
Second-Half Lead Slips Down the Stretch
HAYS, Kan.-Fort Hays State guard Corbin Kuntzsch scored half of his team-high 16 points in the final five minutes to help lift the Tigers to a 72-68 win against Northwest Missouri State Saturday at Gross Coliseum.
It's the fifth straight win for Fort Hays State (14-5, 7-5 MIAA), which swept the season series against Northwest (9-11, 4-9) for the first time since joining the MIAA in 2006.
Kuntzsch completed the Tigers' second-half comeback when he drilled a three-pointer to tie the game at 59 with 4:33 remaining. He went 5-of-5 from the free-throw line in the final minute, giving Fort Hays State a six-point lead with 17 seconds left.
But Northwest pulled within one following a Mike Larsen layup, a quick steal by Edriss Floyd and three free throws from Floyd, who was fouled behind the arc with nine seconds remaining.
Northwest was forced to foul and Jonathan Blake made one of two free throws to give the Bearcats a chance, but Larsen lost control of his dribble and was called for traveling to seal the win for Fort Hays State.
The play overshadowed a career-high tying 16 points by Larsen, 12 of which came in the first half. Elijah Allen, who became the go-to-guy down the stretch for Northwest, scored 11 second-half points and led all scorers with 17.
Northwest led 34-29 at halftime and extended its lead to nine early in the second half. It's the second game in a row the Bearcats have let a second-half lead slip away and the fourth time it's happened this season. Northwest was 160-10 in its previous eight seasons when leading at intermission.
Tyrone Evans, who hit three 3-pointers in a row down the stretch in his earlier meeting with the Bearcats, had a similar stretch Saturday. Trailing by seven near the seven-minute mark, Evans hit back-to-back treys to quickly get the Tigers within one. Kuntzsch's game-tying three came shortly thereafter.
Northwest was 2-of-11 from three-point range, but was 26-of-34 from the free-throw line. Fort Hays State was 25-of-38 from the charity stripe as the two teams combined for 52 fouls and 72 free throws.
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