But it wasn't enough to pull Midwestern State out of its worst shooting game of the season while turning the ball over 17 times as the Mustangs fell 85-65 to California State, San Bernardino.
"I didn't think we played well," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "We came out with the right energy. When they made their run to come back in the first half, we just didn't handle it very well. I'm disappointed with our performance. You just can't give a team with this much talent the kind of opportunities we gave them with our uncharacteristic turnovers."
The 20-point deficit was the largest since Haggerty took over head coaching duties prior to the 2011-12 season and it was the worst loss since MSU took a 24-point setback to Tarleton State in the 2011 Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament.
The Mustangs ran out to an 8-2 lead when Williams hit a transition jumper just over 2 1/2 minutes into the contest, but 5 1/2 minutes would elapse before Xavier Blackburn would score the next MSU field goal.
In between, the Coyotes scored 11 consecutive points to grasp a lead they would not surrender.
Led by 6-8 Nevada transfer Jordan Burris, CSUSB blitzed the nets at a 50-percent clip while connecting on 11-of-21 3-point attempts while converting MSU's 17 turnovers into 21 points.
Burris buried four treys and went 9-of-11 from the field to finish with a game-high 24 points, while Lacy Haddock (9 points, 6 assists), Juan Martinez (12 points, 3 steals) and Taylor Statham (10 points) connected for two 3-pointers each.
Andrew Young, a 6-8 senior transfer forward from Texas A&M, added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Coyotes, who claimed their seventh straight win to improve to 7-1.
Cal State, San Bernardino pushed the advantage to as much as 14 points in the first half, but the Mustangs chipped away to get as close as seven on DeJuan Plummer's free throw with 5:55 to go in the first half.
But the Coyotes outscored MSU 15-4 over the final minutes of the opening half to take a 44-26 advantage into the break and stretched the lead to as many as 25 points in the second half.
"The turnovers we had were all unforced," Haggerty said. "I don't know if it was our excitement of playing. Sometimes when you play a big game like this you veer away from playing the team basketball we've played. But we do feel good about our basketball team. We do have the confidence we can play anybody and we will improve our basketball team."
The Mustangs battled to control a 46-37 edge on the glass including 26 on the offensive glass, but managed to shoot a season low 35.3 percent as a team.
Senior forward Eddie D'Haiti was the only other MSU player in double figures going for 10 points and eight rebounds while Plummer finished with eight points off of the bench.
Midwestern State enters the Christmas Break with an 8-3 record. The Mustangs open spring semester play against Oklahoma Wesleyan on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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