Monday, March 15, 2010

LSC Roundup 3-15

LSC Basketball

South Central Regional: Mustangs take down Tarleton State again

Fourth loss to Midwestern ends Texans' season
Sports Editor

WICHITA FALLS - Midwestern State (30-2) completed a four-game season sweep of Tarleton State (24-8) Sunday night, leaving no doubt who is the best team in the Lone Star Conference this season.

The stakes increased each time the LSC South rivals squared off, and each time the Mustangs were victorious, sweeping the regular season series when the teams played twice in one week, upending the Texans in the championship game of the LSC tournament and now eliminating them in the semifinals of the South Central Regional at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

Midwestern won their ninth straight overall and 27th straight at home dating back to the start of last season.

The Mustangs remain home for Tuesday night's 7 p.m. tournament final against defending regional champ Central Missouri. Central eliminated Fort Hays 80-73 in Sunday's first semifinal.

Tarleton scored six straight points to pull within two at 43-41 after trailing by nine early in the second half.

But Midwestern dominated the final 10 minutes, beginning with a 3-ball by Jason Ebie that touche off a 22-6 run to give the Mustangs a comfortable 65-47 lead with less than three minutes left.

The decisive run was similar to the one the Mustangs used to build a big halftime lead in the conference title game on March 6, and Craig Green's 28-point performance was similar to his 32-point outburst in the teams' second regular-season meeting here on Feb. 6.

This time, the run came after Tarleton squandered a pair of opportunities to tie the game or take the lead.Donta Smith missed two free throws and Corin Henry couldn't knock down an open 3-point look from the left corner.

"I thought we would have to play a perfect game to win tonight," Tarleton coach Lonn Reisman said. "If we were to tie it up or take a one-point lead when we had those chances, I would have liked to have seen how it would have turned out."

Michael Godwin had a double-double for MSU with 13 points and 11 boards.

Chris Hagan scored 11 including nine in the final 10 minutes. He had a 3-ball to restore the lead to 10 with 6:04 left, and pushed the lead to 10 again when he hit a layup to make it 57-47 with 4:48 remaining.

Ebie scored seven points - five of them after the midway point of the second half - and filled out the stat sheet with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

"Their guards are tremendous," Reisman said of Green, Hagan and Ebie. "They play together and they're very intelligent."

First-year Midwestern head coach Grant McCasland also thought his guards made the difference.

"The pressure these three guards put on people may not show the first 30 minutes, but it shows in the last 10," he said. "Our guards kept attacking and making plays."

Midwestern post Charlie Logan had only four points, but they came on a pair of alley-oop dunks down the stretch that put an exclamation mark on the win for the Mustangs.

Tarleton was led by Henry with 15 points. Jeremiah Wilson netted 10, Effran Bryant scored nine and Wale Ogunoye added eight.

The Mustangs led 33-25 at halftime, thanks largely to 13 first-half points by Green. He was in double figures before the midway point of the half.

Midwestern was facing an opponent for the fourth time in one year for the first time since the 1969-70 season. Tarleton had never previously faced one opponent four times in a season in Reisman's 22 years at the helm.

The loss ended the Tarleton career of Bryant, a four-year letterman who helped the Texans advance to two NCAA tournaments. Tarleton was 85-35 during his career.

My career at Tarleton means so much words can't even explain it," Bryant said. "Coming up under Coach Reisman and his staff has changed my life completely."

Jeremiah Wilson also played his final game for Tarleton, which will return three starters and 11 letterman next season.

"We got our feet wet with this young team," Reisman said. "We lost eight games, four of them to Midwestern. We have a good core of guys coming back and we're looking forward to next year."

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico