WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State shot 52.8 percent and doubled up Texas A&M-Commerce in the second half to overcome a 10-point first half deficit and coast to a 78-57 victory Thursday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
After trailing by three at the half, a three-pointer by Igor Ibaka with 18:13 remaining gave Midwestern State (13-6, 6-4 LSC) a lead it would not relinquish.
The Mustangs held Texas A&M-Commerce (14-5, 6-4 LSC) to just one field goal in the first 7:52 of the second half to stretch their lead to 12 at 49-37. A 6-0 run brought the visitors back to within seven midway through the half but a three-point play for Brandon Neel pushed the MSU lead to double figures just one minute later.
The Maroon and Gold continued to pull away from the Lions the final 10 minutes of play with a Neel three-pointer giving the Mustangs their biggest lead of the game at 76-53 with 2:59 to play.
Malik Albert recorded 12 of TAMUC's first 22 points of the game for a 22-12 advantage following a 9-0 run with 10:19 to play in the first half. A pair of three-point plays by Magnus Richards and Pat Smith pulled the Mustangs to within four at 22-18 just one minute later. Back-to-back baskets for Smith with five minutes left in the half gave MSU its first lead since 10-9. The Mustangs were held without a field goal the final 2:44 of the period with the Lions taking a 33-30 lead at the break.
Ibaka posted his 11th double-double of the season and fifth straight with 18 points and 13 rebounds while matching a career-best three blocks for the third-straight contest. Neel reached double figures for the 13th-straight game, matching Ibaka with a team-high 18 points. Smith added 13 points while dishing out a team-best five assists.
Midwestern State plays host to No. 14 Tarleton State for a 4 p.m. rivalry matchup Saturday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
Texas A&M-Commerce took advantage of 24 Midwestern State turnovers and 22 offensive rebounds, scoring 23 points off turnovers and tallying 17 second chance points to come away with a 69-64 win Thursday evening at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
Texas A&M-Commerce (14-5, 8-3 LSC) recorded its largest lead of the night at 66-58 with 2:06 remaining following a 12-4 run to break a tied game five minutes earlier. Midwestern State (5-12, 2-9 LSC) made one final push down the stretch with a 6-1 spurt to pull within three with 1:05 to play after four-straight points from Micheline Mercelita. However, the Mustangs were unable to pull even following a turnover in the final seconds before Jenna Price knocked down two free throws to seal the win for the Lions.
Jennifer Arbuckle scored eight of MSU's 15 points in the opening period as the Mustangs jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. A pair of three-pointers for Artaejah Gay and Krystal Pickron helped the Lions put together a 10-2 run in a 1:42 span before taking a three-point advantage after the first period.
It was close second period until a three-pointer for Brianna Wise pushed the TAMUC lead to seven at 34-27 with 1:27 left in the half. A Kristin Rydell jumper brought the Mustangs to within five at the half.
Midwestern State pulled within one early in the third period following a Rydell three and a basket for Avery Queen. A technical foul on TAMUC resulted in a 6-0 MSU run in just 25 seconds with Mercelita scoring four points to propel the Mustangs to a 44-41 lead with 3:44 remaining in the period. MSU was held without a field goal the rest of the quarter with the Lions holding a 53-50 lead after three.
Rydell led the Mustangs in scoring for the seventh time this season with 16 points while adding a career-best five assists and four steals. Arbuckle recorded a season-high 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting with a team-high six boards.
Midwestern State next faces rival Tarleton State in a 2 p.m. tipoff Saturday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.