ALLEN, Texas – In the first 20 minutes of Midwestern State's quarterfinal matchup Wednesday with Texas A&M-Kingsville, the Mustangs resembled the team that struggled to shoot the ball earlier in the season and limped to an 11-6 record in early January.
But in the second half, MSU turned up the defensive pressure and looked more like the team that reeled off nine straight LSC wins and claimed a co-championship.
The Mustangs turned a two-point halftime deficit and outscored the Javelinas 23-6 to seize control and cruise to a 77-61 victory in the Allen Event Center.
MSU's 10th straight win propels the Mustangs (21-6) into Friday's semifinal round against the winner of Thursday's matchup between Angelo State and Cameron.
The Javelinas finish their season with an 8-19 record after now losing five straight games and six of seven.
The Mustangs picked up the pace on both ends of the floor, starting with a defensive surge that kept A&M-Kingsville from hitting a field goal until the 10:39 mark. The Javelinas missed their first eight shots from the field in the second half, to go along with three turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs turned things around offensively after shooting a dismal 28 percent from the field. MSU hit 12 of its first 15 shots in the second half and finished the second frame hitting 71.4 percent. Midwestern got a big lift off the bench by DeVaughn Jones, who had a career-high 15 points off four dunks. Jones also had seven points in just 18 minutes of action.
Monzaigo Williams, a first-team All-LSC selection, scored 14 points with four assists. Second-team All-LSC pick Xavier Blackburn, who also made the All-Defensive team, just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. DeJuan Plummer also had nine points, as did JaMichael Rivers, who capped off the scoring with a thunderous slam in the final minute of play. The Mustangs saw 12 different players in the scoring column.
The Javelinas were led by Ronald Scott's 19 points. Ta'Quan McDew chipped in 13.
Midwestern State Notes
Midwestern State remained at No. 3 in the latest South Central Regional Rankings released Wednesday afternoon by the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Committee.
The Mustangs have rolled off 10 consecutive wins to improve to 20-6 on the season while moving to 11-2 in the Lone Star Conference.
MSU, the Lone Star Conference co-champion, opened the LSC Tournament with a quarterfinal win on Wednesday, beating Texas A&M-Kingsville 77-61. They play in the LSC Tournament semifinals on Friday at 2:30.
Metropolitan State (Colo.) (26-1) took over the top spot in the rankings after Tarleton State (24-2) slipped to second after losing at Texas A&M-Commerce 79-76 last Saturday. MSU remained third, followed by Colorado Mines (24-3), St. Mary's (19-7), Arkansas-Fort Smith (21-5), Texas A&M-Commerce (18-8), Angelo State (18-8), Texas A&M International (20-8), and Colorado-Colorado Springs (20-7).
The South Central Region consists of the Lone Star, Rocky Mountain Athletic and Heartland conferences. The winners of each league's postseason tournament gains an automatic berth into the postseason while five others earn at-large access.
The top eight teams from each of NCAA Division II's eight rebounds advance to the postseason which begins March 15-18 at campus sites of the top-ranked team in each region.
If the South Central Regional started today Metro State would be the probable host site and the Roadrunners would face Angelo State in the opening round.
Other first round matchups would feature Tarleton against Texas A&M-Commerce, MSU against Arkansas-Fort Smith and Colorado Mines would face St. Mary's.
The winners of each regional advance to the Elite Eight which is set for the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. from March 26-29.
|1||Metro State (Colo.)||25-1||25-1|
|3||Midwestern State (Texas)||15-4||18-5|
|5||St. Mary's (Texas)||15-6||17-7|
|8||Angelo State (Texas)||14-8||14-8|
|9||Texas A&M International||16-5||16-8|
The Midwestern State Mustangs are ranked ninth in the third South Central Regional Rankings released on Wednesday afternoon by the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Committee.
The Mustangs sport a 17-10 overall record and an 9-6 Lone Star Conference mark heading into Thursday's Lone Star Conference Tournament quarterfinal with Angelo State. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.
The Mustangs fell primarily because Fort Lewis (Colo.) moved up three spots after beating previously top ranked and unbeaten Colorado Mesa. However, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament opened on Tuesday with FLC falling to unranked Black Hills State that doesn't figure into the rankings this week.
West Texas A&M (24-2) returned to the top position this week, while Colorado Mesa (26-1) is second with Tarleton State (19-7) third, Colorado State-Pueblo (22-7) fourth and Texas A&M International (19-7) fifth.
St. Mary's (Texas) (18-8) is up two spots to sixth, with Fort Lewis (16-11) seventh. Texas Woman's (15-11) fell to eighth, with MSU ninth and Colorado Christian (15-12) tenth.
Fort Lewis and Colorado Christian both lost in the RMAC Tournament quarters on Tuesday.
The South Central Region consists of the Lone Star, Rocky Mountain Athletic and Heartland conferences. The winners of the each league's postseason tournament gains an automatic bid into the postseason while five others earn at-large access.
The top eight teams from each of the eight regions advance to the postseason which begins March 14-17 at campus sites of the top-ranked team in each region.
The winners of each regional gain a berth in the Elite Eight which is set for Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa., March 25-28.
NCAA Division II Region Rankings
|1||West Texas A&M||20-2||22-2|
|3||Tarleton State (Texas)||15-7||16-7|
|5||Texas A&M International||18-7||18-7|
|6||St. Mary's (Texas)||17-8||17-8|
|7||Fort Lewis (Colo.)||15-10||15-10|