Throw out the records. Throw out the time of season. Drama always rules when
Midwestern State squares off with Abilene Christian at Moody
And Thursday night was no exception as the Mustangs needed a big steal and a block in the closing seconds to hang on for a 72-71 win to improve to 9-3 on the season and to 5-0 in Lone Star Conference play.
"These guys are never afraid," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "They are aggressive and always trying to make plays. These guys are coming together to play for each other and that's been fun to watch."
MSU overcame a 9-point deficit with 6:23 to play and took the lead for a final time after Kevin Grayer stripped LSC-leading scorer Eric Lawton leading to a Corbin Thomas layup to give the Mustangs a slim one-point lead with 17 seconds to play.
Abilene Christian worked their offense, appearing to free Lawton for a baseline 3-pointer in the closing seconds, but Williams recovered to swat the ball into the north wall at Moody Coliseum. The Wildcats were left with 0.3 seconds for a final inbounds play but Derrell Gibbs leaped high to tip away the ball to preserve the win for the Mustangs.
"Every game we've played, it's gone down to the wire here and sometimes past that," Haggerty said. "We were able to get in there and make some plays. Basketball is a game of runs. We got down and made some plays late."
MSU survived ACU by a point last season at Moody on the strength of a Michael Loyd technical free throw after the Wildcats connected on a 3-pointer that might have sent the game to overtime. And back in 2009-10, the Mustangs needed a tip-in by Craig Green to claim a one-point overtime win. Overall, the Mustangs have dominated the series with wins in 16 of the last 17 games.
The Mustangs led by as many as 11 points in the opening half led as junior forward Derek Kaster matched a season-high with 13 points -- all in the opening half.
Abilene Christian rallied to claim a 34-33 halftime lead and extended the advantage going into the second half.
Williams dropped in a game-high 19 points while junior guard Keith Spellman returned from injury to score 14 points while Cam Adderley scored 12 points after intermission.
"Zaigo was great throughout the whole game," Haggerty said. "We were able to get in transition and get some buckets before they were able to set up."
Lawton finished with 17 points and seven assists to lead the Wildcats and was joined in double figures by Steven Werner (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Elliott Lloyd (14 points).
Abilene Christian slipped to 5-6 on the season and to 1-4 in LSC play.
Midwestern State takes on Angelo State Saturday night at Junell Center/Stephens Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Kirsti Degelia poured in a career-high 26 points to lift Midwestern State past
Abilene Christian 76-62 Thursday night at Moody Coliseum in Abilene.
The win snapped a two-game skid for the Mustangs, who improved to 8-3 on the season and to 3-2 in Lone Star Conference play.
Degelia, a junior from Krum, connected on 9-of-17 shots including a pair of 3-pointers while going 6-of-8 from the charity stripe to better her former high of 25 points against Angelo State last season.
Her effort helped the Mustangs dust off struggles from the last two games in road losses at Central Oklahoma and Eastern New Mexico. MSU takes on Angelo State Saturday at Junell Center/Stephens Arena. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
But sophomore forward Andrea Carter also matched a career-high with 20 points while pulling down 10 rebounds to notch her fourth double-double of the season to head the Mustangs' dominating edge on the glass as MSU doubled up the Wildcats 50-25.
The Mustangs scored the first eight points of the game and led by as many as 15 points in the opening half. MSU extended the advantage to a game-high 23 points when Taylor Dowd hit a layup for a 56-34 lead with 11:07 to play.
Led by two-time first-team All-LSC performer Mack Langford's 21-point performance, Abilene Christian closed the deficit to 11 points with 5:37 to go but couldn't get any closer.
The win was the third straight for Midwestern State at Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs had won just once prior to their current run of success in Abilene.
Senior guard Ashley Rush made just her second collegiate start and first since her freshman season in 2009-10 at Southwestern Oklahoma. The Cashion native finished with seven points and three assists.
Sophomore guard Shatoia Gober pitched in seven points to go along with six rebounds off of the bench.
Abilene Christian fell to 7-3 on the season and to 3-2 in league play.