USF Drops Heartbreaker To Fort Hays

Coo Fall 80-78 To Finish Weekend Winless

For the second straight night, the University of Sioux Falls Men’s Basketball Team (0-2) outshot its opponent but turnovers and a last second shot by Rob Davis lifted Fort Hays State (1-1) to an 80-78 decision over the Cougars at the Stewart Center. The USF-FHSU game concluded the MIAA-NSIC Challenge, hosted by USF this weekend.

It is the second straight season that USF has been victimized by a last second basket by the Tigers, who won the game a year ago on a basket by Kenny Enoch in a 62-60 win at Hays, Kan.

On Sunday night, after USF’s Zach Wessels converted a drive inside with 23 seconds to play, Davis, who scored a game high 33 points, ran the clock down inside five seconds and scored the game-winner on a drive to the basket. However with just .7 seconds left, Wessels threw up a desperation heave that nearly rattled in. Davis, the only returning starter for FHSU from a year ago, hit 12-of-20 field goals, including 7-of-11 from three-point range.

Overall, USF hit 28-of-58 shots from the floor for 49.1 percent to 31-of-64 for 48.4 percent for FHSU but the Cougars had 19 turnovers to just 12 for the visitors. Both teams knocked home nine three-pointers with USF doing it on 26 attempts and FHSU, 19. The Cougars hit 13-of-15 from the foul line and owned a 37-26 edge in rebounds.

For the Cougars, Drew Guebert led the team in scoring with 23 points along with eight rebounds and two steals. He hit 8-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-10 from three-point range. Senior forward Daniel Hurtt added 21 points and six rebounds while senior Clint Thomas added 15. Thomas was 4-of-7 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three point range.

In the opening half of play, Guebert led the Cougars with 13 points, hitting 3-of-7 from three point range. However, the Cougars fell behind early as FHSU raced to a 13-6 lead at 13:27 of the first half after Davis hit a jumper. The Cougars answered with a 13-5 run to take a 19-18 lead with eight minutes to play when USF freshman Devin Green scored inside. Guebert’s three-pointer provided USF with a 24-22 lead at the 6:18 mark but FHSU answered with a 9-3 run for a 31-27 lead (3:13) when Aaron Nicholson canned a three point shot. However, Hurtt tied the game on an inside drive as the teams went into halftime tied at 31-31.

In that opening stanza, the Cougars were just 13-of-31 for 41.9 percent, including 3-of-14 from three point range. USF held a 22-17 rebound edge but were hurt by turnovers with 10 to just six for FHSU.

In the second half, FHSU grabbed the momentum early and a 35-31 lead at the 18:29 mark. USF rallied with baskets from Thomas and Hurtt to draw USF within 39-38 at the 15:49 mark. When senior guard Mack Johnson, who had eight points, made a pair of free throws, the Cougars led 40-39 with 15:34 to play.

A couple of minutes later, FHSU had a five-point run when Davis knocked home a three pointer and the Cougars were whistled for a foul. When Hadley Gillum made a jumper, FHSU led, 47-42 with 13:24 to play. USF’s Green answered with a three-point play off a rebound with his free throw pulling Cougars within 47-45 at the 13:07 mark.

After an acrobatic move inside by Hurtt cut the FHSU lead to one, Davis hit a three for a 61-57 lead at the 7:33 mark. On the ensuing possession Guebert knocked home a three to cut FHSU’s lead to 61-60. With 5:36 to go, Hurtt connected on a three-pointer to give the Cougars a 66-64 lead with 5:43 to play.

From there, the two teams traded leads four times with four ties. The Cougars’ biggest advantage was 71-67 after a three pointer by Thomas (4:39) and a steal and layup from Guebert (4:13). FHSU answered with a six-point run for a 73-71 edge with 2:58 to play after Davis scored on a drive.

With 1:22 to play, Thomas gave the lead back to USF on a three-point shot. But Kyler Kinnamon scored on a three-point play to knot the game at 76-76 with just 1:07 to play. After USF had a turnover at center court, Gillum scored on a layup with 39 seconds left for a 78-76 FHSU lead. Then, Wessels answered with a drive and score with 23 seconds to play before Davis’s heroics in the final seconds gave the Tigers the win.

Next up for USF will be a home game with Presentation College at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. It is part of a doubleheader with the USF women’s team, which also faces Presentation College at 6 p.m., at the Stewart Center.