Mustangs close strong to beat St. Mary's, 77-66

St. Mary's Vs. #14 Midwestern St.

Midwestern State used another strong finish to dump St. Mary's (Texas) 77-66 Tuesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
 
"We were fortunate to win this game," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "They were able to control the backboards and shot the ball really well from 3-point range. There is a reason why they are on top of the Heartland each year and always in the national tournament."
 
The Rattlers were the first team to win the battle on the boards against MSU this season posting a 42-35 edge including 24 on the offensive to produce 24 second-chance points.
 
All this against an MSU which ranked third with a season rebound margin of +14.5.
 
On top of that that, St. Mary's buried 11 3-pointers led by Skyler Brooks, who canned six triples on the way to a game-high 20 points while Kriston Minor knocked down four 3-pointers for 19 points.
 
But still, the Rattlers were only able to jump out to more than a 3-point advantage at any point during the game and led 54-51 after Trey Hall buried a 3 from the right wing with 10:44 to play.
 
From then on, it was all Midwestern State as the outscored STMU 26-12 the rest of the way as the Mustangs shot 7-of-11 from the field and 11-of-13 from the charity stripe to close out the victory.
 
"We were able to work the ball inside for high percentage shots," Haggerty said.
 
Midwestern finished the game shooting 51 percent from the floor against the eighth-rated field goal percentage in NCAA Division II as the Rattlers had limited the opposition to 36.5-percent shooting through the first five games of the season.
 
MSU senior Bretson McNeal buried a pair of 3-pointers to finish with a game-high 15 points, while senior forward Khapri Alston notched his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
 
Senior forward DeVaughn Jones continued his stellar play at home going 6-for-6 from the field to close with 14 points off of the bench. Jones has made his last 13 shots from the field at Ligon Coliseum after going 7-for-7 for a career-high 17 points last week against Colorado State-Pueblo.
 
Midwestern State (6-1) takes on Oklahoma Christian Friday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
 
St. Mary's dropped to 4-2 on the season.