Mustangs Finish Strong, Beat #3 Bellarmine

Brandon Golden scored 16 points off of the bench to lead No. 11 Midwestern State to a 77-71 win over No. 3 Bellarmine (Ky.) Friday night in the Bill Joergens Memorial Classic at the Physical Activities Center.

The Mustangs (4-1) close classic play against host Southern Indiana Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Bellarmine closed the first half on an 8-2 run and scored 14 of the first 16 points in the second half to take a 50-39 lead with 16:57 to play after MSU dominated much of the first half and led by as many as 11.

The Mustangs hit on eight 3-pointers in the opening half including three each by Golden and senior guard Jordan Stevens while senior Bretson McNeal also canned a pair.

Midwestern clamped down on the defensive end of the floor in the second half limiting the Knights to a 38.2 percent shooting despite the hot start.

The Mustangs cooled off from the arc in the second half, but 3-balls by Stevens and Pat Smith spurred a 12-0 run late in the second half.

Smith's triple with 2:59 to play gave Midwestern its first lead of the second half at 65-63 then Golden punctuated the run with a dunk in transition.

The Mustangs sealed the victory by going 8-of-10 from the charity over the last two minutes to send Bellarmine to its second straight loss as the Knights fell to 3-2.

Golden connected on four 3-pointers to finish with 16 points, while McNeal hit three triples on his way to a 15-point, six-assist night.

Stevens continued his stellar play by hitting four 3-pointers as part of a 14-point outing, while senior forward Khapri Alston narrowly missed out on his third double-double of the season with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Midwestern improved to 10-10 against opponents ranked in the NABC Division II Top 25 during the Nelson Haggerty era. It was their sixth win over a team ranked in the Top 10.

Rusty Troutman had 23 points and seven rebounds to lead Bellarmine.