ODESSA, TX (KAUZ) - The MSU Mustangs mounted a furious rally, but a 14-point first half offensive outburst by MSU allowed UT Permian Basin to close out a 59-57 victory at the Falcon Dome in Odessa.
The Mustangs fall to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in Lone Star Conference after the setback.
It was a defensive slugfest in the opening quarter as the teams combined to shoot 6-for-27 from the field (MSU, 3-for-13; UTPB, 3-for-14) and combining for nine turnovers. Whitney Taylor knocked down an early three to tie the game at five with 3:06 to go in the quarter, but MSU ended the period trailing 9-8 as Sierra Lagrande hit a buzzer-beating jumper to give the Falcons the edge.
The cold-spell continued through the second quarter for the Mustangs on offense. Kristin Rydell drained a trey at the 8:59 mark to pull MSU within one, down 12-11. The make by the Hutto product would be the only made field goal by the Mustangs in the period as MSU was held to just six points, leading to a 21-14 deficit at the half.
The Mustangs got things going from deep in the third quarter as Rydell connected on a pair of shots from deep. After an ice-cold first half, MSU went 6-of-12 in the third, including 3-for-8 from three-point land. The Falcons also began to find a rhythm offensively, shooting 57.1 percent on 8-of-14 shooting. UTPB did most of its damage from deep, knocking down five treys in six attempts.
Midwestern State pulled within three on Mica Schneider's trey with seven seconds to play. On the ensuing Falcons possession, UTPB turned the ball over to give the Mustangs a chance to tie in the final seconds. With one second left on the clock, Taylor drew a foul on a three-pointer, going to the line with a chance to force overtime, but the Melissa native only connected on one of the attempts, resulting in a final of 59-57.
Senior guard Jasmine Richardson led MSU with 12 points, converting on 8-of-10 shots from the charity stripe while Taylor added 10 points on a trio of three-pointers. Junior forward Chelsea Adams pulled down five rebounds to lead the Mustangs.
Lagrande led the Falcons with 17 points while knocking down four three pointers. UTPB improved to 5-9 overall and 3-3 in the LSC.
Midwestern State was unable to overcome a lights-out shooting performance by eighth-ranked UT Permian Basin in an 88-71 setback at the Falcon Dome in Odessa.
The loss moves the Mustangs to 4-11 on the season and 1-5 in Lone Star Conference play.
In the first half, the Mustangs defense forced just eight missed shots by the Falcons as UTPB shot 71.4 percent from the field with most of the damage coming in the paint. UTPB outscored MSU 28-12 in the paint in the first half. Midwestern State was no slouch on the offensive end, shooting 42.4 percent, but despite the strong showing, MSU went into the break down, 50-37.
The second half saw the Mustangs slow down the Falcons offense slightly, holding UTPB to 50 percent from the field, but it was not nearly enough to allow for a comeback.
Senior guard Devante Pullum finished with 18 points to lead the team, shooting 60 percent from the floor. The Little Elm product also had three rebounds and six assists. Senior guard Brandon Neel tacked on 17 points and six rebounds while adding an assist and a block. Junior forward Wanaah Bail scored 12 after a one-game hiatus of scoring in double figures and led the team with seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Logan Hicks capped off the MSU players in double figures with 11 points, four assists and two rebounds.
Lone Star Conference Preseason Player of the Year led the Falcons with 28 points, shooting 70.5 percent from the field and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. The eighth-ranked Falcons improve to 12-1 overall and 5-0 in Lone Star Conference play.