MSU Men's Basketball: Mustangs fall to No. 2 Bellarmine in Elite Eight - MSU SportsPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Midwestern State got just want it wanted in the second half Wednesday at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight quarterfinals at MassMutual Center.
But the Mustangs just didn't make enough shots down the stretch as No. 2 Bellarmine moves on with a 70-64 win.
The Knights face the winner of the Alabama-Huntsville/Minnesota State-Mankato contest Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. (Central).
"That was a great offensive team," MSU coach Grant McCasland said. "We did what we wanted to do defensively in the second half. Our guys executed the game plan and just couldn't get it to go down for us down the stretch. That ended up being the difference in the game."
Midwestern held the Knights to their second lowest scoring output of the season and limited them to just three 3-pointers - a season low.
And the game seemed to turn on a kick of the ball as the Mustangs clung to a one-point advantage advantage with five minutes to play.
MSU had used an 8-0 run powered by a pair of inside buckets from senior forward Charlie Logan and pair of transition layups by Michael Loyd and Chris Hagan that pushed the Mustangs' advantage to 58-54 with 6:36 to play.
But Bellarmine countered as Justin Benedetti, who finished with a team-high 21 points, knocked down 3-of-4 free throws to cut the margin to 58-57.
The teams exchanged turnovers as the Mustangs appeared on the verge of a 3-on-1 break before Bellarmine's Chris Dow appeared to kick the ball, collect it and hit a wide open Nick Holmes as the Knights regained the lead at 59-58.
Bellarmine extended the run to 8-0 as the Mustangs were held scoreless for a stretch of 5:41 before Chris Hagan knocked down a free throw with 51.9 seconds to play.
"We just couldn't get anything to go down the stretch," McCasland said. "I didn't do a good enough job of keeping our guys aggressive and keeping the ball moving. I felt we got a little stalled."
The Mustangs were far from stalled at the opening tip as Logan converted an alley-oop pass for a dunk and Hagan banged in eight points in a two-minute salvo to give the Mustangs an early 10-2 lead.
Bellarmine would punch back to take only a brief lead on a Luke Sprague jumper with 9:59 to go until halftime, but the Mustangs battled back to push the lead back to 35-29 on David Terrell's traditional three-point-play off of a dunk on Kevin Loyd lob 2:53 before intermission.
In fact, the Knights would hold just two leads in the whole game before the Mustangs hit a dry spell late in the second half.
"I feel bad the ride ends here for this group," McCasland said. "They love each other they loved playing together. I came into this game feeling we were going to win. I feel like we had what it took to win. We were going to find a way to win the basketball game."
Hagan, a 5-9 senior guard from Houston, finished with a game-high 24 points and became just the 10th player in the storied history of MSU basketball to amass 700 points in a season.
The LSC South Division Player of the Year and Preseason Sporting All American finishes the season with 707 points and closes his career with 1,188 points - the third most for any two-year player in program history.
"Chris was the first player I signed at MSU," McCasland said. "He is the hardest worker and one of the toughest players I've ever coached. I can't say enough about what these guys put into it and it makes me sick that we couldn't win for their sake because of their efforts."
Junior forward Darrick Thomas joined Logan with 10 points and six rebounds, while junior guard Michael Loyd added nine points, four rebounds and five assists and David Terrell pitched in seven points and three rebounds.
The loss ends an improbable run through the postseason as the Mustangs clinched an Elite Eight berth for the second consecutive year by defeating the top three seeds in the South Central Region including wins over No. 17 Tarleton State, No. 9 Missouri Southern and No. 4 Central Oklahoma.
No. 2 Bellarmine represented the Mustangs' 11th game this season against a team ranked in the NABC Division II poll.
"This team has been resilient all year long," McCasland said. "For us to be here and have this opportunity, I can't say enough about this group."
The Mustangs lose four quality seniors this season including Hagan, Logan, Terrell, Adrian Van Buren and Jon Trilli.
Midwestern St. vs Bellarmine (03/23/11 at Springfield, Mass. (MassMutual Center))
1st Half Box Score
Midwestern St. vs Bellarmine
03/23/11 12 p.m. at Springfield, Mass. (MassMutual Center)
Midwestern St. 64
|12||Van Buren, Adrian||-||1-3||0-1||0-0||2-0||2||0||2||0||2||0||0||19|
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||Total|
|Midwestern St.||37||27||64||Record: (25-9)|
|Officials: Jim Bruno, Steve Ruppenthal, Clarence Anderson |
Technical fouls: Midwestern St.-None. Bellarmine-None.
2011 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championship Tournament
Elite Eight - Game One
Baseball Weekly Release: Incarnate Word leads league - LSC Office
After six weeks of play, the Lone Star Conference baseball season continues as Incarnate Word sits at the top of the league with a 13-5 record. Southwestern Oklahoma is not far behind posting a 15-6 league mark.
LSC baseball teams are 171-152 overall this season. Combined the squads are currently 13-13 versus Heartland Conference teams and 5-2 against the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association, which are the other two conferences in the NCAA South Central Region.
Click here for the complete release
• Cameron’s Kenny Held hit three home runs in a win over Augustana (March 22) to tie the single game LSC and school records.
• Eastern New Mexico’s Mitch Wolfe hit two home runs with a grand slam and two-run shot in the victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville (March 19) to mark the first grand slam and multi-home run game by a Greyhound since he accomplished the feat last April.
• Southwestern Oklahoma defeated top-ranked and previously unbeaten Emporia State, 18-9, for their 19th victory in the last 21 games.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Mitch Wolfe, Eastern New Mexico University, JR, First Base, Litchfield Park, Ariz., Agua Fria HS
Wolfe led the Greyhounds to a Lone Star Conference series win over Texas A&M-Kingsville, last week, leading ENMU in nearly every category. He had multiple hits in all three games, including a four-for-five performance with three runs, three doubles and a run batted in, during the series-opening win. In the series finale, he homered twice, including a grand slam, for six RBIs. The performance marked both the first grand slam and multi-home run game by a Greyhound since he accomplished the feat last April against Central Oklahoma.
Kenny Held, Cameron University, SR, OF, Tuscon, Ariz.
Held had a dominate week from the plate as the Aggies went 4-3 on the week and returned to the national rankings. On the week, Held finished with a .391 batting average and was 9-of-23 from the plate. However, perhaps more strikingly, of Held’s nine hits, six were home runs while the other three consisted of a pair of doubles and a triple. In Tuesday’s second game versus Augustana, he had three home runs to tie the single game LSC and school records. He drove in 12 runs for the week with a massive 1.348 slugging percentage to lead the Aggies in both categories. His .500 on base percentage was also tops on the team. The Tuscon, Ariz., native also got the start in the fourth game of the AC series, tossing four innings while giving up just two hits. The primary right fielder had a perfect fielding percentage on the week.
James Rhodes, Cameron University, JR, RHP, Weatherford, Okla.
Rhodes turned in a performance this week for the Aggies that solidified him as one of the top staff pitchers for Head Coach Todd Holland. Rhodes picked up a victory on the week against LSC rival Southwestern Oklahoma and then came on to shut down Augustana in the final inning of the game with CU clinging to a one point lead. For the week, his 1.50 ERA was tops of all credited pitchers and his eight strikeouts tied for a team-best. Batters were unable to catch up to any of Rhodes’ stuff and his just .174 off him on the week.
Chris Rogers, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, JR, P, Oklahoma City, Okla., NOC-Enid
Rogers came on in the second inning of Southwestern Oklahoma’s second game with Cameron University after the Aggies had scored eight runs against the two previous Bulldog pitchers. Rogers got out of the second allowing only one more run and then went on to pitch the remaining seven and one-thirds innings. He allowed just five hits and gave up one more run, a solo homer in the eighth, to pick up his first win of the year as SWOSU came back from a 6-0 hole.