The Midwestern State Mustangs ran their record to 3-0 on the season with a hard-fought 79-64 victory over the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys Friday in the Al Kaly Classic at Colorado State-Pueblo.
The Cowboys (0-1) won the opening tipoff and scored on the first possession, but the Mustangs countered with a Michael Loyd 3-pointer and never trailed again.
The Mustangs led by double digits in both halves, only to have the Cowboys answer the bell and trim the lead.
"I'm really pleased with the way our guys competed," said MSU Coach Nelson Haggerty. "I felt we could have done a better job keeping it out of the lane especially late, but our guys fought and got a good hard-fought win tonight."
"We had some guys that hit some shots early and we just hung on," Haggerty added.
The Mustangs were paced by Loyd who pumped in 18 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. JaMichael Rivers added 14 points with three boards, while Anthony Harris chipped in 11 points. Thomas Colbert came off the bench with seven rebounds to lead the Mustangs.
Highlands got 19 points from Marcus Williams who also grabbed six rebounds with three assists. He was the only Cowboy to record double-digits in scoring. A.J. Shepard collected eight points, while Marquis Whitt grabbed seven rebounds.
The Mustang defense controlled the game, holding the Cowboys to just 37 percent from the floor and forcing 21 turnover that led to 30 MSU points.
"Our ball pressure was pretty good and forced them into several mistakes," Haggerty said. "I'm glad we could take advantage of them."
The Mustangs shot 38 percent from the floor themselves, but hit 7-of-19 from the 3-point arc to control the contest.
The Mustangs take on Classic host Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. Texas Time.