Eastern New Mexico flexed its inside muscle to dominate No. 11 Midwestern State on the glass to hand the Mustangs their first loss of the season 80-72 Saturday night at Greyhound Arena.
The Greyhounds dominated board by a 42-26 margin as Midwestern fell to 13-1 on the season and to 6-1 in Lone Star Conference play.
"This was a tough one, but hats off to Eastern New Mexico," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "They are a talented group of guys. Their record doesn't show how good they are. They were definitely better than us tonight."
The Greyhounds (10-7, 3-5) led from tip-to-buzzer, but for the second consecutive game the Mustangs rallied in the second half.
The solid defensive play of Keonte' Logan sparked an 11-2 run early in the second half to pull the Mustangs to within 44-39 after the senior from Wichita Falls missed the charity toss on the back end when he was fouled on a transition layup with 15:18 to play.
Free throws were a challenge for the Mustangs with the exception of senior guard Michael Loyd, who knocked down 6 of his 7 charity tosses on the way to a team high 16 points and six assists.
The rest of the team managed to shoot 9-of-20 from the line - a trend that plagued Midwestern's comeback efforts.
Eastern New Mexico shot a blistering 59.4 percent from the field, but totaled just nine official attempts in the second half. The Greyhounds converted 37-of-50 from the charity stripe to contribute to a great statistical oddity.
The Greyhounds managed just nine official second half field goal attempts and made just one field goal over the final 13:53 of the contest, but ENMU connected on 27-of-36 at the charity stripe to keep the Mustangs at bay.
Junior guard Devone Davis, a 56.9-percent foul shooter, was 14-of-16 at the free throw on his way to a game-high 20 points while Reggie Nelson (17 points) Curtis Wilkinson (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Stefan Mirabal (14 points) were all in double figures for the 'Hounds.
"Our last two or three games, we've gotten off to bad starts," Haggerty said. "To our guys' credit, we fought back but they made solid plays. It's going to be tough to win in our league with the kind of effort we put forth in the first half."
The Mustangs extended the game in the closing minutes, but were never able to close within a possession reaching as close as 74-70 on a JaMichael Rivers 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds to play.
Junior forward Anthony Harris had 13 points, while David Terrell (11 points, 7 rebounds) and DeJuan Plummer (9 points) had strong efforts off of the bench.
Midwestern State plays host to Cameron Wednesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
The Aggies won their ninth straight game by defeating West Texas A&M 68-64 Saturday night in Canyon.
Kirsti Degelia's traditional three-point play with 9.1 seconds remaining in overtime broke an 8:30 field goal drought and lifted Midwestern State to a 70-67 win over Eastern New Mexico in Lone Star Conference action Saturday afternoon at Greyhound Arena.
The win extended MSU's longest winning streak since 2003-04 to seven games as the Mustangs have won 10 of 11 to improve to 11-3 on the season and to 6-1 in league play.
Midwestern returns to action for Rivalry Week against Cameron Wednesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
The Mustangs let a 10-point lead with 8:03 to play slip away as the Zias would limit MSU to a single field goal for the remainder of regulation.
Eastern New Mexico tallied the final nine points of regulation sending the game to overtime on the strength of a Precious Herrin fadeaway to tie the game at 63-63 with 26.6 seconds remaining.
The Mustangs blitzed ENMU for six 3-pointers in the first half and led by as many as 15 points at 36-21 with 3:13 to play in the first half, but the Zias used charity stripe to go on a 10-0 run hitting 8-of-10 free throws during the stretch to cut the MSU advantage to 36-31.
Eastern New Mexico rallied to within 36-35 on Hannah Altheide's long two before the Mustangs restored order to slowly reconstruct the lead to 58-48 before suffering through the field goal drought.
Midwestern trailed briefly in the overtime period at 65-64 after a pair of free throws by ENMU's Tori Northcutt, but the Mustangs battled back without the benefit of a field goal as Shatoia Gober went 1-for-2 from the line before Savannah Carver knocked down a pair of free throws with 54 seconds to go to give the Mustangs a 67-65 edge.
Eastern New Mexico Kiara Tate, who finished with a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds, hit a tough runner in the lane with 39.0 seconds to go.
But Degelia beat Tate to the right side of the paint and layed it in with her right hand with a bump from behind to deliver the win for MSU.
Carver paced the Mustangs with 15 points including a pair of 3-pointers while senior forward Jazman Patterson pitched in 11 points and nine rebounds.
Jones came off of the bench for 12 points including nine in the first half.