The Midwestern State Mustangs couldn't overcome the first half barrage of West Texas A&M, falling to the Buffaloes 73-60 on Wednesday night.
The loss in Canyon was the first in three years for MSU. The Mustangs (18-6, 7-3) won the previous matchup with the Buffs (15-9, 5-5) when they met on January 7 in Wichita Falls. MSU won that game 73-58.
West Texas was hot from downtown in the first half, keeping them in the lead. The Buffs nailed 7 triples, exactly half of their first half 14 baskets were threes. MSU was also outrebounded by WT by a 23-17 margin.
The Mustangs fell behind 6-0 to start the game and battled back to an 11-11 tie with 12:51 to play in the first. That tie was as close as MSU could get as the Mustangs would never hold a lead in the game.
The Mustangs again couldn't cash in at the charity stripe, going just 5-13 in the first half, compared to WTAMU's 9-11 effort. The Buffs led 44-27 at the break.
Things would get marginally better for the Mustangs in the second half. MSU crashed the boards, outrebounding the Buffs 28-12 in the second half.
The three point line was still cold for MSU in the second half, hitting on just 2-of-9 attempts. The two made triples is a season low for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs found a better rhythm at the FT line, shooting 13-19 in the second half.
Midwestern State cut the lead to as close as seven twice in the second half, once as late as 5:32 remaining in the game following 2 free throws by Bretson McNeal. McNeal scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the second half.
Kevin Wagner and Xavier Blackburn both added 10 points each for the Mustangs. Blackburn grabbed 12 rebounds followed by Khapri Alston with 10.
Next time out for the Mustangs is a Valentine's day date with the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds on Saturday, February 14. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
The No. 22 ranked Mustangs had a 5-game win streak snapped in a hard-fought 59-55 loss to the No. 6 West Texas A&M Lady Buffaloes on Wednesday night.
MSU (18-4, 9-3) was tasked with digging out of a hole due to posting just 13 points in the entire first half. The No. 6 ranked WT Lady Buffs (19-2, 10-1) weren't much better, scoring only 27 in the first frame.
The battle between the two ranked opponents was for the outright lead in the Lone Star Conference. The win was the 10th straight for West Texas, whose only conference loss this year was to the Mustangs in Wichita Falls back on January 7th.
The Mustangs were ice cold in the first half, hitting on 5-27 field goals for a paltry 18.5 percent. Only five players scored for the Mustangs in the first half, including just 2 bench points.
"We put ourselves in a real disadvantage for the second half," said MSU head coach Noel Johnson on the team's 13 point effort. "We didn't attack offensively and they stretched us all over the court."
The second half was a different story for MSU as the Mustangs outscored the Lady Buffs 42-32 over the final 20 minutes.
West Texas held a 16 point lead with 18:04 to play after receiving a 3-pointer from Danielle Logan. The Mustangs methodically chipped away at the lead, eventually getting to within one point, 42-41, on a triple from senior shooter Lisa Hampton.
Midwestern State became more aggressive defensively, forcing the Lady Buffs into 12 second half turnovers, leading to 15 Mustang points.
The Mustangs would again knock on the door of taking a lead, getting as close as 57-55 with just 28 seconds to play after five-straight free throws by MSU. The Lady Buffs would close out the game by hitting two free throws after being fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound.
"We just weren't clicking tonight as we know that we can," said Johnson.
"We were hesitant in the first half, missing 7 layups in the first half. We ran out of steam trying to come back from that halftime deficit."
Shatoia Gober led the Mustangs scoring 12 points, while Shambreka Jones tallied 10. Andrea Carter came close to another double-double, scoring 9 points and securing 10 rebounds.