SAN ANGELO, Texas — Junior guard JaMichael Rivers poured in 13 of his career-high 30 points in the final 8:14 to lift the Mustangs to a 65-61 Lone Star Conference win against pesky Angelo State.
“JaMichael was great tonight,” MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. “When we really needed that energy, he really carried us and gave us that spark.”
Rivers buried back-to-back treys from the left wing to culminate a 10-2 run — of which he scored eight — as the Mustangs needed just three minutes to undo the Rams’ largest lead of the game at 53-41 with 8:14 to play.
“We have a fighting team and I knew we were going to continue to play hard,” Rivers said. “I knew I was on fire and I was confident we would win when they got comfortable with a 12-point lead.”
The Mustangs came out of the gate firing building a quick 13-1 lead in the opening seven minutes, but struggle with the shot and with the whistle throughout the remainder of the half.
“When you’re on the road in this league, it’s just tough,” Haggerty said. “You just try to get them to fight and believe they can overcome anything.”
The Rams connected on 11-of-19 charity tosses in the first half courtesy of 16 MSU fouls to climb back to within 25-20.
Angelo State blitzed the Mustangs with the first eight points of the second half as the Rams spread the floor with a penetrate and pitch style to hit 6-of-14 3-pointers including four from Joey Lenox.
The Rams extended the lead to 53-41 after Reggie Brice hit a pair of free throws to cap a 7-2 run for ASU’s largest margin of the game.
Brice paced the Rams with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Javae King-Gilchrist added 11 points.
That’s when Rivers went to work pulling the Mustangs close before putting back his own missed free throws and bombing in a trey to give the Mustangs the lead at 58-57 with 3:49 to play.
Angelo State answered with a trey from Hanif Nixon-Hughes to take a 60-58 lead with 2:58 to play.
The Mustangs would tie the game on a putback by Darrick Thomas with 1:34 to play and senior forward David Terrell put in a left-hand hook to give MSU a 62-60 advantage. Midwestern hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch down the stretch to clinch the win.
The Mustangs improved to 7-0 on the season and 2-0 in Lone Star Conference play.
Angelo State fell to 6-4 and 0-2.