MSU Headed Back To The Elite Eight

Midwestern State faced down its biggest weakness Tuesday night in the NCAA Division II South Central Region championship.

"Free throws have been our Achilles' heel," MSU coach Grant McCasland said. "But we have a lot of tough guys who really want to win. It wasn't the free throws we took that were important, it was the ones we made."

The Mustangs connected on 18-of-24 charity tosses in the final six minutes of the game to come away with a hard-fought 73-66 win over No. 4 Central Oklahoma.

The win not only ended the Bronchos' 25-game winning streak at Hamilton Field House, but also punched Midwestern's ticket for a return trip to the Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass.

The Mustangs will face No. 2 Bellarmine - an 86-66 winner over Ferris State (Mich.) Tuesday night - in the opening game in the national quarterfinals set for 11 a.m. (Central Time) at MassMutual Center.

"It took us some time to figure it out this year," South Central Tournament MVP Chris Hagan said. "But we're playing well at the right time and really believe in each other."

The biggest blows of the game came in a span of seven seconds when two-time Lone Star Conference North Division Player of the Year Dauntae Williams committed his fifth foul of the game when MSU's David Terrell scrambled for his own missed free throw with 7:07 to play.

"I really thought they had called a lane violation on the play," Terrell said. "But when I head the roar of our crowd, I knew the call had gone our way."

Williams, who had picked up four fouls in the opening six minutes of the second half, went to the bench with the game tied at 55-55.

Seven seconds after Terrell - a 35-percent free-throw shooter - hit two charity tosses, UCO's second leading scorer - Tyler Phillips - ran over MSU forward Darrick Thomas for his fifth foul of the game.

From there, the Bronchos struggled on the offensive end as they hit just two field goals over the last 10 minutes of the game and were held to 39.6 percent from the field.

Terrell led the way by posting his sixth double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Hagan and Michael Lloyd each had 11 points and Kevin Lloyd and Charlie Logan pitched in eight points each.

Every Mustang who played in the game scored at least five points.

The Mustangs improved to 25-8 on the season while Central Oklahoma closed the campaign at 30-4.