No. 24 Midwestern State was in a jam and needed to find a go-to man Monday night at Junell Center/Stephens Arena in San Angelo.
And junior guard JaMichael Rivers was just what the doctor ordered as the transfer from Sneed State poured in 13 of his career-high 30 points in the final 8:14 to lift the Mustangs to a 65-61 Lone Star Conference win over pesky Angelo State.
"JaMichael was great tonight," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "When we really needed that energy, he really carried us and gave us that spark."
Rivers buried back-to-back treys from the left wing to culminate a 10-2 run - of which he scored eight - as the Mustangs needed just three minutes to undo the Rams' largest lead of the game at 53-41 with 8:14 to play.
"We have a fighting team and I knew we were going to continue to play hard," Rivers said. "I knew I was on fire and I was confident we would win when they got comfortable with a 12-point lead."
The Mustangs came out of the gate firing, building a quick 13-1 lead in the opening seven minutes, but struggled with their shot and with the whistle throughout the remainder of the half.
"When you're on the road in this league, it's just tough," Haggerty said. "You just try to get them to fight and believe they can overcome anything."
The Rams connected on 11-of-19 charity tosses in the first half courtesy of 16 MSU fouls to climb back to within 25-20.
Angelo State blitzed the Mustangs with the first eight points of the second half as the Rams spread the floor with a penetrate-and-pitch style to hit 6 of 14 3-pointers, including four from Joey Lenox.
The Rams extended the lead to 53-41 after Reggie Brice hit a pair of free throws to cap a 7-2 run for ASU's largest margin of the game.
Brice paced the Rams with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Javae King-Gilchrist added 11 points.
That's when Rivers went to work pulling the Mustangs close before putting back his own missed free throws and bombing in a trey to give the Mustangs the lead at 58-57 with 3:49 to play.
Angelo State answered with a trey from Hanif Nixon-Hughes to take a 60-58 lead with 2:58 to play.
The Mustangs would tie the game on a putback by Darrick Thomas with 1:34 to play and senior forward David Terrell put in a left-hand hook to give MSU a 62-60 advantage.
Midwestern hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.
The Mustangs improved to 7-0 on the season and 2-0 in Lone Star Conference play.
Angelo State fell to 6-4 and 0-2.
Angelo State buried eight treys and used a big push late in the first half to hang on for a 64-58 Lone Star Conference win Monday night at Junell Center/Stephens Arena.
The loss snapped the Mustangs' three-game winning streak as MSU fell to 4-3 on the season.
Midwestern continues on the road to take on Incarnate Word in San Antonio before returning home for games against Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday and Abilene Christian on Monday.
The 'Belles tallied the last 10 points of the first half to take a 34-19 lead into intermission.
But the Mustangs clawed back with an 11-0 run of their own ignited by a Dianna Jones 3-pointer, then the freshman from Hewitt converted another steal into a layup give MSU momentum.
Midwestern pulled within 37-32 on Ashley Rush's floater with 14:40 to play.
Angelo State re-constructed a 10-point advantage, but the Mustangs continued to chip away and used an 8-2 run to climb within 53-50 of the 'Belles on a Kirsti Degelia 3-pointer with 6:18 to go.
Jones would score six consecutive points starting with a traditional three-point play with 3:45 to play before Shatoia Gober hit a floater in the lane off of a steal to pull MSU within 59-58 with 1:00 to play.
But that would be the last bucket for the Mustangs as ASU's Paige Weishuhn hit an open jumper and the 'Belles converted 3-of-5 from the free throw line to close out the win.
Carver paced Midwestern with 17 points and added a season-high five steals, while Jones had 13 points and four rebounds.
The Mustangs were limited to a 34.5-percent shooting night including a 3-of-10 effort from 3-point range.