The No. 23 ranked MSU Mustangs couldn't cash in at the free-throw line, falling to No. 12 Tarleton State 58-53 on Wednesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The Mustangs (17-5, 6-2) scored eight more field goals (22) than Tarleton (14) in the game. The Texans (19-2, 6-2) made their hay at the charity stripe going 27-30 for the night, including a perfect 10-10 from starting point guard Mo Lee.
MSU got out of the gates quick with an opening alley-oop from Kevin Wagner to Derrell Gibbs to lead TSU 2-0. The Texans responded and took a five point lead following a foul by MSU's Kevin Wagner that sent TaShawn Mabry to the line for 3 free-throws. It was the first of two times in the first half that the Mustangs fouled a Texan in the act of shooting a triple.
MSU clawed back to tie the game at 20 with 5:14 to play in the first on a driving layup by senior forward Xavier Blackburn. Tarleton answered with a 9-4 run to close the half and take a 29-24 lead at the break.
The Texans hit the second half running, quickly gaining a ten point, 36-26, lead just two and a half minutes into the second frame after a 3 pointer from TSU guard Nosa Ebomwonyi.
The Mustangs defense clamped down after TSU guard Michael Hardge hit an open 3-pointer to give Tarleton a 44-37 advantage with 12:17 to play. Midwestern State only allowed two Texan points to be scored over the next 5:34 of game action. MSU used balanced scoring, including 5 straight points from Kevin Wagner, to finally tie the game at 50 with 3:41 left in the game.
Unfortunately, TSU closed the game on a 6-1 run including baskets by Mo Lee and TaShawn Mabry to salt away the victory. MSU had a few challenged shots at tying the game on back-to-back three point attempts by Bretson McNeal, but both efforts came up short.
Midwestern State could not find the stroke at the free throw line, shooting a paltry 26.7 percent from the stripe on 4-15 shooting. MSU outrebounded the Texans by a slim 39-37 margin, but allowed TSU to shoot 30 free throws on the evening, connecting on 27 for a 90 percent efficiency.
Xavier Blackburn led the charge for MSU scoring a game-high 21 points, including 3 three pointers, and grabbing 8 rebounds. The Texans were paced by TaShawn Mabry with 17 and Mo Lee with 16.
Next up for the Mustangs is a road date with Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday night, February 7. The Mustangs defeated the Javelinas at Ligon Coliseum by a score of 61-57 back on January 3.
Tip-off at A&M-Commerce Field House is set for 6 p.m. Play-by-play action can be heard on 95.5FM ESPN.
Midwestern State's Lisa Hampton and Dianna Jones set a pair of milestones in leading the Mustangs to a 72-57 win over Tarleton State Wednesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
With the win, MSU avenged its loss last month in Stephenville while claiming its fourth consecutive win to improve to 17-3 on the season while moving to 9-2 in Lone Star Conference play.
Hampton buried the 133rd 3-pointer of her career with 54 seconds remaining to become the program's all-time leader in 3-point makes moving past Andrea Buben, who hit 132 from 2006-10.
"It was good for Lisa to hit this milestone in front of the home crowd so they could share in it with her," MSU coach Noel Johnson said. "I am proud of her and it is well deserved."
It was one of three 3-pointers for Hampton who finished with 11 points.
Fellow senior guard Dianna Jones became the 20th player in MSU history to score 1,000 career points finishing the night with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting as she moved past former teammate Savannah Carver (1,002 points from 2008-12) into 19th place on MSU's all-time scoring chart.
Senior forward Andrea Carter also notched her ninth double-double of the season finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Mustangs enjoyed a solid, all-around team victory.
Sophomore Jennifer Sissel sparked a 10-0 run midway through the first half with her first 3-pointer of the season while Dianna Jones converted a traditional three-point play on a fast break layup as the run was bookended by layups from Shambreka Jones and Carter to give MSU a 29-18 lead with 9:34 to go before halftime.
The TexAnns would claw back to within six early in the second half, but MSU responded to push the lead back out to 16 after Dianna Jones scored five consecutive points to give the Mustangs a 63-47 lead with just under six minutes to play.
Shambreka Jones added eight points and 10 rebounds while senior guard Shatoia Gober delivered an all-around effort with eight points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Tarleton State's Kathy Thomas scored 11 points and dished out six assists to lead Tarleton State which dropped to 12-7 on the season and 5-5 in LSC play.