Men win conference title

Orlando Flores Jr.

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Mustangs clinch LSC with win over Texas A&M-Commerce, prepare for postseason

The men’s basketball program used a commanding 85-67 victory over Texas A&M-Commerce on Feb. 20 to capture their second Lone Star Conference championship in the last two seasons.

Head Coach, Nelson Haggerty, waves the net after the Mustangs win their second consecutive Lone Star Conference Championship.
Photo by Lauren Roberts

The win not only secured the team’s position at number one in the LSC, but it also vindicated a 74-66 loss to Commerce back in January towards the beginning of conference play.

“It’s so hard to win games, much less the league,” Men’s Head Basketball Coach Nelson Haggerty said. “To have a group of new guys battle through to win this league is really just incredible. The growth of this team has been very good, and this team has dealt with a lot of adversity throughout the year. No matter how many championships that you win, they are very hard to come by. Each one should be celebrated for what it is.”

The celebration did not last long for the men, though, as they fell to Tarleton State 75-60 in Stephenville, Texas on Feb. 23.

“Honestly, it was just a tough conference loss on the road,” Haggerty said. “To win on the road, especially when it’s a game that has so much history as Midwestern State and Tarleton, you’ve got to be really good in some spots.”

Haggerty said he thought the men played extremely hard and were prepared and focused for the game, but he cited poor decisions when the team had a slight lead that led to Tarleton getting the victory.

“We shot a quick shot on a couple of possessions, and we missed free throws late in the game,” he said. “In order to win on the road, you’ve got to do those two things well.”

Corbin Thomas attempts a field goal in the Mustangs win over A&M-Commerce Wednesday night.
Photo by Lauren Roberts

Despite the loss, the men still hold a big enough lead to not lose the LSC championship. The team now has a week off to rest and recuperate before playing their final game of the regular season on March 3. They will host Paul Quinn (Texas) at D.L. Ligon Coliseum during the team’s senior night to commemorate seniors on the team who will graduate or lose eligibility at the end of the season.

“This week we’ll look to get healthier and better,” Haggerty said. “The Paul Quinn game will be a big one because of senior night, and we’re still fighting for a good spot in the national tournament. It’ll also be a game before the conference tournament.”

Haggerty said the team will look to continue to be tough on defense and rebound the ball the way they have been to remain successful for the Paul Quinn game. On the offensive end, turnovers will have to be cut down, and they will really have to take care of the basketball.

“When we do all these things, we’ve proven that we’re pretty tough to beat,” Haggerty said. “We’re still going to prepare to win the next game that we play, and hopefully we’ll be making another stop towards playing our best basketball this time of the year.”

After the Paul Quinn game, the team will have three days to prepare for the Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament in Allen, Texas from March 6-9. Since it holds the number one seed, the team’s first pairing will be against the eighth seed.

Haggerty said that despite expecting the team to be in the NCAA postseason playoffs, they know nothing will be guaranteed for it.

“There are still a lot of things that can happen as far as the seeding in the tournament goes, as well as which teams make or don’t make the national tournament,” he said. “We definitely want to go out and win this tournament because it’s the Lone Star Conference, but we also want to put ourselves in a great position to be in the national tournament and have the best seed possible. We still have a lot of work to do, and we play for this time of the year. Our season isn’t done yet, and we still have a lot to go after.”

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