KIRKSVILLE — The Hornets overcame a 13-point halftime deficit and outscored the Tigers 18-7 in the fourth quarter to rally for the North Central Missouri Conference win Saturday night.
Fulton stretched its sizzling winning streak to 12 games, moving to 16-2 overall and 6-1 in the NCMC. The Hornets also swept the season series with Kirksville following a 62-52 triumph Feb. 12 in Fulton.
Fulton was down 23-14 after one quarter Saturday and trailed 35-22 at the break. The Hornets began to whittle their deficit in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers 25-17 to pull within 52-47.
Fulton then completed its scrappy comeback by putting the squeeze on Kirksville over the last 8 minutes.
"This group just can't be knocked down," Hornets head coach Justin Gilmore said. "We needed an extra gear last night (at Hannibal) and they gave it to us, and we had to ask for an extra gear tonight and they gave it to us again.
"They continue to break through walls and push themselves."
Sophomore guard Courtland Simmons produced 16 points to pace four players in double figures for Fulton. Sophomore guard Walker Gohring added 14 points, freshman center Javar Galbreath provided 11 and sophomore forward Josh Reams contributed 10.
"I thought we did a good job of pushing the tempo in the second half," Gilmore said. "We made a conscious effort to sit down and get (defensive) stops and rebounds, and that allowed us to get out and run for transition baskets."
Noah Copeland guided Kirksville (13-4, 3-3) with a game-high 18 points.
In a 60-47 NCMC victory in Hannibal on Friday night, Fulton closed the game on a 15-0 run while limiting the Pirates to five points in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets found themselves down 20-13 after one quarter, but outscored Hannibal 15-9 in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 29-28 at the break. Fulton followed up by outscoring the Pirates 17-13 in the third quarter to go in front 45-42.
The Hornets then took control over the final 8 minutes, pulling away behind their emphatic run to end the game. Fulton completed a sweep of Hannibal after winning at home 69-50 on Dec. 11.
"Hannibal is always a tough place to play and it was even tougher after a seven-day layoff," Gilmore said. "Hannibal came out and shot the ball well and made us play from behind in the first half. A lot of guys struggled with foul trouble in the first half and really had to battle to stay in the game.
"I thought our guys showed great composure and maturity. I know I've said it before, but this group is a bunch of fighters. They dug deep and stayed together all night. This group does it on the defensive end and when we really needed it, they showed up."
Sophomore forward Colby Lancaster shared game scoring honors with 16 points to direct four players in double figures for Fulton. Gohring logged 15 points, Reams had 12 and Simmons chipped in with 10.
"It was a night where we did not particularly shoot the ball well, but we found other ways to come up with timely baskets," Gilmore said. "They really banded together when it seemed like everything was stacked against them."
Aaris Stolte topped Hannibal with 16 points and Tristen Terrill chipped in with 11.
The Hornets travel to Marshall for an NCMC matchup at 6 p.m. Monday.