LUBBOCK, Texas – Midwestern State shot almost 60 percent from the field in the second half and 53 percent from three for the game from three, running past Lubbock Christian 71-65 on Sunday, Jan. 1.
Both teams traded threes to open the game, with Aaron Gonzales striking from downtown in the opening minutes for LCU (8-4, 4-2 LSC), before the Mustangs (6-7, 3-4 LSC) answered with a Derrick Ogechi trey. The Chaps started to pull away, thanks to a triple from Russell Harrison and a layup from Rowan Mackenzie, but a Marquis Davison three cut the lead down to 12-8 in favor of the Chaparrals with 13:03 left in the first half.
A pair of layups from Harrison and Mackenzie forced an early MSU timeout, but Najeeb Muhammad got in on the scoring, draining his first shot from long distance to put the Chaps up 20-12. Layups from Kurt Wegscheider and Karhan Jones swelled the LCU bulge to ten points, but once again it was Davison with a big three to keep the Stangs in striking distance, slicing the lead to 24-17 with 6:36 remaining in the opening stanza.
After a jumper by Harrison, another three-pointer from Gonzales gave LCU a 32-21 lead, their largest of the day. Midwestern State did not blink, ending the half on an 11-2 run, thanks to an Ogechi three-pointer and a layup by Luke Hamilton, before a Pierre Sanders buzzer beater saw the Mustangs down just 34-32 at the intermission.
Both teams traded baskets to open the second half, including Gonzales and Hamilton both drilling three-pointers right after each other. A second straight Gonzales triple put the Chaps ahead by five, but Jermane Carter responded for the Mustangs, and his layup with 16:34 left in the contest cut the Lubbock Christian lead down to 42-39. Hamilton drained another three to tie the game for the first time since it was tied at five early in the first half, and the two foes were all square at 42-42 with 15:59 left in the game.
Wegscheider showed his range with a corner three of his own, and then a Muhammad layup pushed the Chaparrals back up by five, but the Mustangs again answered, as a Sanders layup and an Ogechi triple tied the contest back up at 49. A Harrison three-ball put the Chaps back ahead for the moment, but a pair of jumpers by Ogechi and Carter gave Midwestern State their first lead of the afternoon, going on top 53-52 with 11:42 remaining.
Carter and Sanders added two more buckets, and the Mustangs pushed their advantage to 58-52 with 8:57 left in the game. A clutch three-pointer from Mackenzie put the Chaps back down one, but Hamilton drove to the lane to add a pair and put Midwestern State back on top by three. Harrison responded with a triple of his own, and the Chaparrals and Mustangs were tied at 60-60 with 6:50 remaining.
Midwestern State turned up the pressure on defense, forcing three turnovers and holding the Chaps 0-for-3 from distance during the midst of a 6-0 run, as layups from Ogechi, Carter and Davison put the Stangs on top 66-60. Muhammad finally got a three to drop, but Sanders drilled the dagger from deep to put MSU on top 69-63 with 1:21 left in the game. Despite the Mustangs going just 2-for-5 from the free throw line in the final 81 seconds of the game, LCU went 0-for-4 on the offensive end and 2-for-4 from the charity stripe, as Midwestern State held on for the 71-65 win.
The win is the first for Midwestern State over LCU since Feb. 1, 1979. Since the rivalry renewed in 2016, Lubbock Christian had won six games in a row. It is the Mustangs first ever win at the Rip Griffin Center and their first in Lubbock since Jan. 18, 1979.
In the second half, the Mustangs shot 59.3 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from three. For the game, MSU shot 53.3 percent (8-for-15) from three, the most an LCU opponent has shot from beyond the arc this season and the highest three-point percentage for a Chaparral opponent since DBU shot 54.5 percent (12-22) on Feb. 5, 2022, a 75-73 win for the Chaps.
Despite the loss, Russell Harrison recorded his second-straight 20-point output, with 21 points and six rebounds. The Lubbock native also had one steal, one block, and made three three-pointers. Wegscheider flirted with a double-double, finishing with a season-high ten rebounds while also scoring nine points. The Bangui, Central African Republic native also had two assists and a block.
Gonzales finished in double digits, scoring 14 points and pulling down five rebounds. Mackenzie finished with eight points and six boards, along with two steals. Muhammad finished the afternoon with eight points and five assists.
Davison led the Mustangs with 18 points and nine rebounds. Five Midwestern State players finished in double figures scoring, including Sanders who had 13 points and five steals.
Lubbock Christian returns to the road, heading just down the highway to face rival UTPB in Odessa on Thursday, Jan. 5. Tip-off from the Falcon Dome is set for 7:30 PM.
LCU Press Release