STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Sometimes the other team has the win to truly make a rivalry.
That just hasn't happened much lately in matchups between Midwestern State and Tarleton State.
But the Texans must have felt a sense of relief Saturday night as they came away with a 68-56 Lone Star Conference result at Wisdom Gym.
"I felt like we were a step slow tonight," MSU coach Grant McCasland said. "It's my responsibility to get our team to play at a high level. We just couldn't make that extra play that we're accostumed to seeing our gusy make."
The Mustangs' dominance over Tarleton has been deep over the past few seasons and had claimed wins in the eight of the last 10 games including a four-game sweep last season as MSU muscled past the Texans twice during the regular season, in the conference title game and again in the South Central Region semifinals.
"They were more aggressive tonight and got to a few more balls," McCasland said. "They looked like they had a bit more pop. We'll get better from this."
Tarleton largely had junior Carrington Tankson to hail for its night of redemption as the junior transfer from San Jacinto JC poured in a career-high 28 points
"Carrington hit some shots that kinda seperated them from us," McCasland siad. "I felt we were trying to make a play too quick in the clock against their sagging man defense."
Tankson scored just 18 seconds in to the contest, then followed a Warren Webb 3-pointer with a trey of his own as the Texans ran out to a 10-2 advantage 3 minutes into the contest, but the Mustangs responded with a run of their own.
Michael Loyd punctuated an 11-0 run with a 3-pointer from the right wing to put MSU up 13-10.
It was shortlived as Tankson keyed another 10-0 run with a layup and then another trey from the top of the key to give Tarlton a 27-17 lead with 5:59 to play. The Texans would never trail again.
The Mustangs would pull to within six points on a few occasions in the second half, but were never able to pull within a possession.
Junior forward David Terrell paced the Mustangs with 14 points by going 7-for-7 from the field as the Mustangs managed to connect on 48.9 percent from the field, but were outshot from the free throw line by a 31-12 count.
Senior guard Chris Hagan added 11 points while Deuce Nichols and Darrick Thomas pitched in 10 points each.
The Mustangs (16-5, 4-3) take on Eastern New Mexico Wednesday night at Greyhound Arena in Portales. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m.
Tarleton State improved to 15-4 and 6-1.