Midwestern State simply got the job done Wednesday night in a very difficult place to play.
The Mustangs built a 14-point lead in the second half then held off nemesis West Texas A&M for a 58-55 Lone Star Conference win at the First United Bank Center in Canyon, Texas.
It was just the second win for MSU at the FUBC and first since taking a 78-71 victory in its first game at the facility in 2003. The win was just the fourth in 26 tries all time for the program in Canyon.
"This is huge for us and huge for our program," MSU coach Noel Johnson said. "This was a great atmosphere tonight. I'm proud of the kids and we just fought hard."
The victory was also the 10th straight for the Mustangs who improved to 17-3 on the season and maintained their half-game lead at the top of the Lone Star Conference standings at 12-2.
Junior guard Kirsti Degelia dropped in a team-high 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting including a pair of 3-pointers while sophomore forward Andrea Carter (12 points, 7 rebounds) and sophomore guard Shatoia Gober (10 points, 9 rebounds) also tallied double figures.
MSU used a 10-1 run to open the second half to extend a one-point halftime lead to a 38-29 edge when Kirsti Degelia hit a 15-foot jumper with 14:58 to play.
The game took an intense turn at the 11:55 mark when West Texas A&M's Chotiquah White was called for a flagrant foul for hitting MSU's Skyler Warrick with an elbow.
The call resulted in a bench technical for WT allowing Lisa Hampton to connect on 3-of-4 shots from the charity stripe to give the Mustangs a 46-34 advantage with 11:55 to go.
MSU extended the lead to 14 points at 52-38 when Degelia hit a cutting Taylor Dowd in transition with 9:10 to play.
But West Texas A&M rallied with an 11-1 run to pull within 53-49 on Casey Land's 3-pointer from the corner with 5:37 to play.
"We tried to give the lead away at the end of the game," Johnson said. "We just made some bonehead mistakes we don't normally make. Sometimes you have to have a little luck to pull out a win sometimes."
Devin Griffin paced WT with 19 points, six rebounds and four steals as the Lady Buffs fell to 12-11 on the season and to 8-6 in LSC play. White finished with a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Midwestern State plays host to Eastern New Mexico Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.
Midwestern State claimed its second-ever win at the First United Bank Center Wednesday night, clubbing West Texas A&M 55-42 in Lone Star Conference play.
"It's something we haven't done here in recent history," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "Our guys came out focused and we knew it was going to be a physical battle. It was all of that. Baskets were just hard to come by. I'm proud of the way our guys battled and responded. Our guys proved to be the tougher guys tonight."
It was the largest win for an MSU team in Canyon since the then-Indians claimed an 86-66 victory on Dec. 3, 1960. It was just the seventh win all time for Midwestern on WT's home floor as the Mustangs moved to 2-9 all time at the FUBC. It also completed the first men's and women's sweep in the Panhandle for Midwestern.
The Mustangs matched their season long winning streak at four games while moving to 15-5 on the season and 11-2 in Lone Star Conference play. MSU can clinch a seventh LSC title by winning its next four games -- all at home. The Mustangs play host to Eastern New Mexico Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
And it took another classic defensive effort to produce the result. MSU held West Texas A&M to 11 points and 3-of-23 shooting (13 percent) in the first half as the Mustangs built a 26-11 halftime edge.
"We just never quit on plays," Haggerty said "Even when they were able to get to layups and we were able to force some misses with just some great defensive effort."
Midwestern held the Buffs to just three field goals in the opening half which included a 14:48 drought as the Mustangs used an 11-0 run to take control of the game midway through the opening half.
West Texas A&M rebounded to shoot 30 percent in the second half, but was never able to but the MSU lead to single digits.
Junior guard Cam Adderley paced the Mustangs with 12 points and seven rebounds while Kevin Grayer added 10 points and Derrell Gibbs pitched in seven.
"Cam played a complete game despite being in foul trouble," Haggerty said. "He played the meat of the game with four fouls. He just seems to be the toughest of guards out there."
Kennon Washington had 11 points and seven rebounds while Donald Sims notched a double double with 10 points and 14 boards to lead West Texas A&M which dropped to 14-7 and 6-7.