The Western New Mexico University men’s basketball team looked to be in trouble trailing by 19 points late in the first half. The resilient Mustangs didn’t quit, in fact they came all the way back to take a late lead in the second half before Midwestern State used a key stretch over the final few minutes to take the 89-79 Lone Star Conference victory Thursday night.
It was not the start WNMU (3-12, 0-6 LSC) was looking for as they fell behind 22-7 just over 12 minutes into the game. MSU (5-11, 2-5 LSC) built the lead as high as 19 with 2:32 to go in the half when the Mustangs began to find their legs.
Senior Latrell Spivey converted a three-point-play and after free throws by junior Willie McCray, sophomore Tyshaun Copper closed the half with a layup to leave WNMU down by just 11 at 40-29.
WNMU came out of the locker rooms with authority as they ripped off the first eight points to begin the second stanza. Junior Jon-Reese Woodson opened the second half with a jumper in the paint. Sophomore CJ Vanbeekum added a layup and following a pair of foul shots by junior Davis Wade, Woodson closed the run with a jumper in the paint to leave MSU looking at just a three-point lead at 40-37.
MSU pushed the lead back to 10 just over a minute later and after that, WNMU made their best push of the game to take the lead. Junior Jordan Enriquez helped tie the game at 68 with a three-point-play with 8:15 to play and then a Vanbeekum jumper with five minutes to go in the game helped WNMU take the lead at 74-72.
MSU regained their form after that, as they scored the next 11 points as the run pushed them out to an 83-74 lead with just over a minute to play. The run was too much to overcome as MSU held on to grab the victory.
Enriquez led four Mustangs in double-figures with 15 points. He went 9-10 from the foul line and added three assists. Spivey added 14 points, Wade with 13 and McCray with 10. Copper led the team with six rebounds and a pair of blocks, while junior Haneef Vaughn-Wilson dished out four assists.
MSU had five players in double-figures with Brandon Neel lead all-scorers with 21 points. He nearly had a double-double with eight rebounds. Logan Hicks added 19 points and seven rebounds.
WNMU made 26-62 (42) from the field, 3-13 (23) from three and 24-35 (69) at the foul line. MSU answered making 28-65 (43) from the field, 6-26 (23) from three and 27-32 (84) at the foul line.
WNMU held the edge on second-chance points (24-16), bench points (37-33) and points in the paint (46-34). MSU led in fastbreak points (16-4) and points off turnovers (14-12).
WNMU will travel up the road to face Cameron Saturday afternoon starting at 4 p.m. Central Time. The Aggies fell just short against Eastern New Mexico on Thursday, 70-67.