GRAND JUNCTION, CO - Midwestern State used a strong one-two punch off of the bench to spur a 15-3 run midway through the first half to take control for a 75-63 win over Western State (Colo.) in the Holiday Inn-Airport Thanksgiving Classic Friday afternoon at Brownson Arena.
Junior Shawn Nottingham and freshman Logan Hicks combined for 10 of the 15 points during the run as the Mustangs turned a 5-point deficit into a 26-19 lead on a Magnus Richards jumper in the lane with 5:23 to play in the first half.
Nottingham, who was making his season debut, sparked the run with steal and a layup and hit another driving layup before Hicks banged in back-to-back triples to give the Mustangs a lead they would never relinquish.
"This was a game we wanted to re-establish a dominating defensive presence and get to the boards like we have always done," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "Shawn was impressive with how he impacted the game after missing the first five games of the season."
Richards marked season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds, while front court mate Igor Ibaka notched double digits for the third consecutive game with 12 pionts while pulling down eight rebounds with a pair of blocked shots.
Midwestern pushed the lead out to double figures at 32-22 with 3:18 to play in the first half before Western State got back-to-back 3-pointers from Ben Beauchamp and Brady Subart to trim the advantage back to four points.
But the Mustangs closed the half on a 7-2 run to lead 39-30 on senior guard Patrick Smith's buzzer beating triple before halftime.
Midwestern led by as many as 15 points in the second half never allowing the Mountaineers closer than six.
Beauchamp knocked down four 3-pointers to finish with a game-high 21 points for Western State which fell to 1-2 on the season.
Midwestern closes the Holiday Inn-Airport Thanksgiving Classic Saturday night against host Colorado Mesa. Tipoff at Brownson Arena is set for 8 p.m. (Central Time).