KINGSVILLE, TX (KAUZ) - Senior forward Khapri Alston registered 19 points and seven rebounds to lead four Mustangs in double figures and lift No. 22/21 Midwestern State to an 81-63 road win over Texas A&M-Kingsville Wednesday night at the Steinke Center.
With tonight's win, Midwestern State (19-5, 8-4 LSC) joins Angelo State, Cameron and West Texas A&M at the top of the Lone Star Conference standings with an 8-4 record. The Mustangs return home Saturday for Senior Night to host Angelo State in a 6 p.m.tipoff at D.L. Ligon Coliseum before traveling to Lawton, Okla., next Saturday to take on Cameron in the regular season finale.
Alston was joined in double figures by senior guard Bretson McNeal, who finished with 15 points and a team-high four assists. Junior guard Sheldon Hagigal netted 14 points on 3-of-4 shooting from long range while senior guard Jordan Stevens added 10 points off the bench.
In the first half, a pair of triples by senior guard DJ Weathers assisted in an 8-0 Texas A&M-Kingsville (10-13, 2-10 LSC) run as the Javelinas grabbed a 15-8 lead on the Mustangs just over five minutes into the game. However, Midwestern answered the home team's spurt with an 8-0 run of its own to move back in front following a pair of free throws from junior forward Magnus Richards.
Back-to-back three-pointers from McNeal and Hagigal pushed the Mustangs advantage to 26-19 with 7:07 remaining in the first half. After TAMUK made it a one-possession game, a three-point play by McNeal capped off a 6-0 MSU run to give the Mustangs a 32-23 lead with four minutes left on the clock.
Junior guard Pat Smith connected on a triple to record the largest lead of the half for the Maroon and Gold at 37-24 with 2:42 to play as the Mustangs maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the period before taking a 41-29 halftime lead.
Midwestern continued to pull away in the second half with Stevens netting six-straight points to extend the MSU lead to 59-40 with 13:48 remaining. A four-minute scoring drought for the Mustangs allowed the Javelinas to pull within 14, but three-straight turnovers prevented TAMUK from trimming its deficit down any further in the closing minutes.
A pair of Hagigal free throws stretched the Mustangs lead to a game-high 22 at 77-55 with 2:28 to play before going on to record the 81-63 victory.
Midwestern shot 45.0 percent (27-of-60) from the floor while connecting on an impressive 22-of-26 from the charity stripe for an 84.6 percentage.
Senior forward Troy Jones and sophomore guard Trey Sumpter each recorded 13 points to lead the Javelinas, who shot 46.7 percent (21-of-45) on the night. Weathers (12) and senior guard Jamar Goodwin (10) also scored double digits.
Sophomore guard Whitney Taylor erupted for a career-high 26 points on five three-pointers while sophomore guard Krishawn Crockett shined down the stretch to finish with 17 points to lead Midwestern State to its first road win of the season with a 68-63 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville Wednesday night at the Steinke Center.
Wednesday's win snapped a seven-game losing skid for Midwestern State (5-19, 4-10 LSC) while also clinching the Mustangs a spot in the Lone Star Conference Tournament, set to take place Mar. 2-5 at the Allen Event Center in Allen.
The Javelinas were handed their 17th-straight loss and their 29th-consecutive defeat in Lone Star Conference action dating back to the end of the 2013-14 season.
Taylor notched her fourth 20-point game of the season and second straight after going off for 20 points Saturday at Eastern New Mexico. Taylor's career night from behind the arc also helped the Mustangs match a season-best nine three-pointers made.
Texas A&M-Kingsville (5-18, 0-13 LSC) erased an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to pull within two before Crockett scored eight of her 17 points in the final 1:25 to seal the victory for the Mustangs. Crockett hit 4-of-4 from the charity stripe down the stretch to finish with a career-best 7-of-8 from the line while also contributing a team-high three steals.
A pair of early three-pointers from Taylor helped the Mustangs open up a 10-6 advantage midway through the first quarter. Junior guard Jamesha Wade scored 11 of TAMUK's 16 points in the opening period including seven straight in a minute stretch to give the Javelinas a 16-12 lead late in the first.
The offense came to a halt for both teams in the opening minutes of the second quarter before the Javelinas matched their largest lead of the half at 23-18 with 4:53 to play. Back-to-back threes for sophomore guard Kristin Rydell sparked a quick 8-0 run for the Mustangs in a 44-second span to move in front at 26-23. A Taylor free throw gave MSU its largest lead of the first half at 31-25 before going into the locker room with a 31-27 lead.
Junior guard Kaylin Roher knocked down a pair of three-pointers to put the Javelinas back in front at 39-38 with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter. However, the TAMUK lead would be short-lived as Taylor and Crockett each drained a trey to help the Mustangs put together an 8-0 run and take a 46-39 advantage with 4:12 to play in the period. Crockett gave the Mustangs their first double-digit lead of the game at 52-42 before carrying a 12-point lead into the final period.
After Taylor hit her fifth triple of the night, Roher scored seven of TAMUK's next nine points to bring the Javelinas within two at 57-55 with 6:46 left in the contest. The MSU scoring drought reached 5:22 before a free throw by junior forward Jennifer Sissel ended the lull for the Mustangs with just under four minutes to play. Key baskets by Taylor and Crockett helped the Mustangs break away from a one-possession game in the final two minutes to come away with the win.
Midwestern shot 40.4 percent (21-of-52) from the field while connecting on a 47.4 percent clip (9-of-19) from behind the arc for the second-straight outing. The Mustangs also shot well from the free-throw line at 77.3 percent (17-of-22).
Roher led the Javelinas with 18 points while Wade (15) and senior forward Kyra Bauer (14) also reached double figures to help TAMUK to a 38.3 (23-of-60) shooting percentage.
Midwestern State returns home Saturday for Senior Night to host Angelo State in a 4 p.m. tipoff at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.