Archive for Thursday, December 11, 2003

KU’s big men impress Tigers

December 11, 2003


No, this wasn't the offensive machine Fort Hays State so solidly had been in the first four games.

But Kansas University wasn't the same level of opponent the FHSU men's basketball team was used to playing against, either.

Instead of seeing 6-foot-6 post players like they normally do in Division Two, the Tigers instead had to find a way around the lanky arms of Kansas University's 6-11 center, David Padgett.

They couldn't.

Fort Hays State (4-1) scored all of 40 points in an 80-40 loss Wednesday to the Jayhawks. It came after scoring 107, 92, 79 and 97 points in its first four games, all victories over lower-level teams.

Of course, the Tigers' bread and butter, pounding the ball inside, was impossible with Padgett, 6-9 senior Jeff Graves and 6-10 sophomore Moulaye Niang lurking in the paint. Those three combined for six blocked shots.

"Anytime we got the ball inside or had a nice drive to the basket, we just couldn't finish," FHSU coach Mark Johnson said. "When you can't score around the basket, you better hit your shots."

The Tigers shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half and bumped their number up to 32.7 percent for the game after a decent run to close the contest against KU's practice players.

The Tigers didn't hit the 30-point plateau until there was 4:44 left.

They scored 10 points in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

They were down 12-0 before Dontaz Dean scored the team's first two points.

The list of offensive futility goes on and on.

"The majority of the credit has to go to KU's defense," Johnson said. "They came out and made it difficult for us to score baskets."

Especially Padgett, who contributed eight rebounds, four blocked shots and a steal to go along with a game-high 19 points. Three of his blocked shots were in the first five minutes of the game, before the Tigers realized they needed another method of scoring.

"He's the next in a line of big guys that KU brings in," Johnson said. "We tried to come down hard on him, but it didn't matter. He's just so skilled."

All in all, it was a great experience for the FHSU players. Most never had played in historic Allen Fieldhouse before.

The game was a different story, though.

"We're not going to play another team this year that's that big and that physical," Johnson said. "If we can handle this pressure, and get practicing with this, it's only going to make us better when we start playing again in Division Two."

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