Revenge is Sweet! Mustangs Advance to Regional Finals - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Revenge is Sweet! Mustangs Advance to Regional Finals

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SO SWEET! Midwestern State ousts rival Texans, 74-68

DENVER -- No. 23 Midwestern State used a total team effort to send rival Tarleton State packing with a 74-68 win in the NCAA Division II South Central Region semifinals Sunday night at the Auraria Event Center.

The Mustangs (24-7) advance to the regional finals for the fifth time in program history and will face host Metro State (Colo.) Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (Central Time). The top-ranked Roadrunners defeated Colorado Mines 86-82 in Sunday night's other semifinal round matchup.

"These guys compete for each other and want it really bad," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "Everybody was going after it. This was a great team effort."

Senior guard JaMichael Rivers matched a season high with 16 points, but all 12 MSU players who stepped on the court scored points for the Mustangs, who outhustled Tarleton State by a 49-31 margin on the boards while converting 17 second-chance points. MSU also ran out to a 12-0 edge in fast-break points.

The Mustangs used a pair of 3-balls by Monzaigo Williams and DeJuan Plummer to highlight a 10-0 run over a 3-minute stretch in the first half to stretch a 1-point lead into a 29-18 bulge when Williams hit a layup 6:11 before halftime.

The Mustangs stretched the advantage to as many as 15 points in the opening half before the Texans closed with a 9-0 run of their own to cut the MSU edge to 39-33 at the break.

Midwestern was at it again in the second half as five different players scored during another 10-0 run as the Mustangs extended the lead to a game-high 16 points when Derrell Gibbs' tipped in a Williams miss for a 52-36 advantage with 12:42 to play.

The effort depicted the game for the Mustangs, who got seven points and six rebounds in 13 big minutes from Abiodun Adegoke, while DeVaughn Jones had just two points but scrapped for four rebounds and a steal in 10 key minutes also off of the bench.

"These guys give us everything they have when they are called upon," Haggerty said. "To have those guys who are so talented and so unselfish and be ready to go when we need them. You can't say enough about that."

It was just the beginning of the big contributions for the Mustangs as MSU would need everything it could get to stave off Tarleton State's furious comeback efforts in the closing minutes.

The Mustangs would have to do it without the senior leadership of Williams (10 points, 4 assists) and Eddie D'Haiti (4 points, 4 rebounds) who fouled out on consecutive possessions with 2 minutes to play.

The fouls allowed the Texans to cut the lead to three at 65-62 on a pair of De'Andre Upchurch free throws and a traditional three-point play by Chuck Guy.

But senior guard Cam Adderley, who netted 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds after being held scoreless in his previous two games, hit a layup in transition then powered in a layup after Tarleton State had trimmed the deficit to two points with 46 seconds to play.

Then junior forward Tavarion Nix swatted Guy's runner on the baseline with 15 seconds to play allowing Rivers to recover the ball and head to a the charity stripe where he converted both shots to re-establish a six-point lead for MSU at 71-65 with 11 seconds to play.

Tarleton quick answered with a 3-pointer by Tashawn Mabry, but that's when the game took an unexpected turn after the Texans took a foul to send Plummer to the free throw line.

Plummer missed the first shot, then was presented the ball with six Tarleton State players on the floor.

Rivers drained the free throws from the resulting technical foul, then Plummer salted the game away with another free throw putting Tarleton down by six points with four seconds to play.

"We felt like there were some things we did well and some things we could do better," Haggerty said. "We did a good job of executing down the stretch playing without Monzaigo Williams on the floor."

Tarleton State closed the season with a 28-3 record with two of the setbacks coming to the Mustangs.

- Midwestern State advances to the South Central Regional final for the fifth time in school history. The Mustangs moved on to the Elite Eight claiming regional titles in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
- Midwestern State is now 3-0 against Tarleton State in NCAA Division II postseason play. The Mustangs also ousted the Texans in the 2010 regional semifinals in Wichita Falls and in the first round of the 2011 tournament in Edmond, Okla.
- Midwestern State improved to 7-5 against nationally ranked opposition during the Nelson Haggerty era. It was MSU's fifth win all-time against a team ranked in the Top 5. Three of those have come with Haggerty at the helm.
- The Mustangs improved to 15-5 (.750) in its ninth NCAA Division II South Central Regional appearance and to 5-4 in regional semifinal games.
- Midwestern State faces a No. 1-ranked team for the first time in school history in Tuesday night's regional final in host Metro State (Colo.).