The fourth time was the charm for Tarleton State.
After three straight losses in the LSC Championship final, the Texans finally got over the hump Saturday night with a 53-50 win over No. 1 seed Midwestern State at the Allen Event Center.
The Texans (20-9) claimed their second LSC tournament title and first since 2004 and earned an automatic berth to the South Central Regional tournament next week. The Mustangs fall to 21-8 but were ranked third in last week’s rankings.
In a chippy and physical back-and-forth contest from start to finish, the Texans got a big 3-pointer from De’Andre Upchurch to cut MSU’s four-point lead to 1 at 48-47 with 3:13 remaining.
After both teams exchanged two free throws each, Chuck Guy came up with a steal and then assisted Coleman Furst for a go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 1:11 remaining.
The Texans got a big block from Jon Cathey-Macklin and later altered a missed shot in the final seconds.
Guy was named the tournament’s MVP with a solid three-game performance this weekend. He had 16 points Saturday night despite 5 of 22 shooting. Upchurch had 11 off the bench. Jon Cathey-Macklin had seven rebounds and five blocks and was a force in the paint. Furst and Cathey-Macklin joined Guy on the All-Tournament team.
Corbin Thomas scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds for the Mustangs. Eddie D’Haiti had 10 points. Kevin Grayer scored eight. After scoring 33 in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, Grayer finished the tournament with just 17 points combined in the next two games. Thomas and Grayer were both named to the All-Tournament team.
The Mustangs led 29-25 at the break but the Texans used a 12-3 run to open the half to lead 37-32.
MSU would storm back and things would remain close for the duration of the game, with no team leading by more than four.
Tarleton State was 2-5 at one point this season in LSC play with four straight losses, including a 50-34 loss to these Mustangs. But the Texans reeled off six straight wins and have now won 12 of 15 games.
The Texans are now 2-7 all-time in LSC Championships. The Mustangs were denied their fourth LSC Championship in the last six seasons.
Saturday night's game marked the 14th meeting between these two teams in the last four seasons. Midwestern State leads the series, 8-6, and in those 14 games the teams are separated by a grand total of five points (868 for Tarleton State and 863 for Midwestern State) or an average score of 62.0-61.6 in favor of the Texans.
Lyn’dale Brown, Incarnate Word
Kevin Grayer, Midwestern State
Corbin Thomas, Midwestern State
Jon Cathey-Macklin, Tarleton State
Coleman Furst, Tarleton State
Chuck Guy, Tarleton State (MVP)
Midwestern State notes:
• The Mustangs' loss to Tarleton State was their first in a Lone Star Conference championship game after six wins.
• With Saturday night's loss, the Mustangs are now 23-7 all-time in LSC Post-Season Tournament play, still the league's all-time best winning percentage at .767.
• The Mustangs were bidding for their league-record seventh tournament championship, but were denied in the final by a Tarleton team that they had beaten in two of the three previous championship games.
• The Mustangs' loss on Saturday was their first LSC tournament loss under head coach Nelson Haggerty after five straight wins (3-0 in 2012 and 2-0 in 2013 before Saturday night's loss).
Tarleton State notes:
• Saturday night's win over rival Midwestern State snaps Tarleton State's three-year losing streak in the LSC tournament championship game.
• With Saturday night's win, Tarleton State claimed its second LSC Post-Season Tournament championship to go along with the title the Texans won in 2004 with a 69-66 win over Northeastern State (Okla.) in Stephenville. Since that win, Tarleton State was 0-4 in the tournament championship game.
• Tarleton State is now 23-13 all-time in the LSC tournament.
• Saturday night's game marked the 14th meeting between the teams since Feb 3, 2010 (covering the last four seasons). Midwestern State leads the series, 8-6, and in those 14 games the teams are separated by a grand total of five points (868 for Tarleton State and 863 for Tarleton State) or an average score of 62.0-61.6 in favor of the Texans.
Lone Star Conference: lonestarconference.org.