GRAND JUNCTION, CO - No. 20 Midwestern State turned up the defensive pressure and pounded the glass to beat Colorado Mesa 74-57 in the finale of the Holiday Inn-Airport Thanksgiving Classic Saturday night at Brownson Arena.
"This was pretty close to a conference environment tonight on the road with a responsive crowd," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "This was our best defensive effort of the year against a team that moves the ball very well."
Midwestern (6-1) looks to carry the momentum into its Lone Star Conference opener Thursday night at Tarleton State. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Wisdom Gym.
The Mustangs pounded CMU on the glass by a 50-37 margin led by Igor Ibaka's second double-double of the season finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Defensively, MSU hounded the Mavericks into a 35.6-percent shooting putting the cap on Colorado Mesa leading scorer C.J. Davis. The transfer from Tennessee-Martin did lead the Mavs with 12 points but went 4-of-15 from the field and 3-for-12 from the arc.
Senior guard Pat Smith poured in a career-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three 3-pointers and four steals to pace a balanced MSU attack.
Junior guard Brandon Neel ignited a 12-0 run by scoring seven of his 10 points late in the first half as the Mustangs turned a 20-17 deficit into a 29-20 advantage on Shawn Nottingham's steal and layup with 1:51 left until halftime.
MSU seized a double digit lead when Sheldon Hagigal buried a triple from the top of the key to cap a 7-0 run at the start of the second half at 39-28 with 17:40 to go.
The Mustangs would lead by double figures the rest of the way.
Hagigal drilled three 3-pointers off to tally 13 points off of the bench to give MSU its fourth player in double figures.
Colorado Mesa dropped to 1-5 on the season.
Southern Nazarene used a 24-11 run and seven three-pointers in the second half to take its largest lead of the game at 77-59 before holding off a Midwestern State rally in the final minutes to earn an 89-82 victory Saturday afternoon at the Sawyer Center.
Southern Nazarene (2-2) extended on a narrow one-point halftime lead in the first four minutes of the third quarter with a Danielle Gaddis jumper giving the Crimson Storm a 10-point advantage at 47-37 with 6:08 remaining. SNU held a double-digit lead for a majority of the quarter until a three-pointer for Mica Schneider and a jumper for Micheline Mercelita cut the SNU lead to five with 2:10 to play.
A pair of three-pointers for the Crimson Storm stretched their lead to 68-54 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Kristin Rydell scored five-straight points for Midwestern State (2-3) to bring the Mustangs within nine before SNU answered with an 8-0 run to take its largest lead of the contest at 77-59 with 6:01 to play.
Triples for Schneider and Whitney Taylor pulled the Mustangs within 10 points before a basket for Liz Cathcart made it a seven-point game with 1:12 left on the clock. A Cathcart basket brought MSU to as close as five in the final minute but the Crimson Storm kept the Mustangs from evening up the game with a seven-point victory.
In the opening quarter, Midwestern State jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the first seven minutes following a Cathcart jumper. SNU put together an 8-0 run to claim a 12-10 lead early in the second quarter before the Mustangs responded with an 8-0 run of their own with Rydell netting four points in the spurt. It was a close contest the rest of the period with SNU taking a 34-33 lead at the break.