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Wagner races for game winner in OT at Eastern New Mexico

Kevin Wagner raced baseline-to-baseline to lay in the game winner Saturday night to lift Midwestern State to an 81-79 win over Eastern New Mexico at Greyhound Arena.
Kevin Wagner raced baseline-to-baseline to lay in the game winner Saturday night to lift Midwestern State to an 81-79 win over Eastern New Mexico at Greyhound Arena.

"There's not much you can do with four seconds on the clock," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "You have to give Kevin a lot of credit. For our guys to have the presence of mind to get the ball out is huge. He made a strong move once he got into the paint."

The Mustangs rode Wagner's heroics to their season-best sixth straight win while improving to 17-6 on the season and 9-2 in Lone Star Conference play.

MSU remains one game back of league leading Tarleton State, while opening a three-game gap ahead Angelo State and Eastern New Mexico who are tied for third at 6-5.

The Mustangs can clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed in next month's LSC Postseason Tournament with a win over Angelo State Wednesday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

It didn't appear heroics would be required after Midwestern opened the overtime period by scoring the first seven points led by Monzaigo Williams, who canned a jumper before converting a three-point-play to give the Mustangs a 74-67 lead with 2:31 to go.

But the Greyhounds used a 9-2 run capped by senior guard Rodney Blackmon's third 3-pointer of the game to knot the game at 79-79 with 6 seconds to play.

Wagner took the inbounds pass and raced the length of the floor to provide the game winner.

"The whole game showed the toughness of our team," Haggerty said. "We believed in each other and made plays when we needed to."

The Mustangs battled back from eight points down with 5:26 to play and trailed by six points with just 1:36 to go in regulation before rolling off an 8-2 run to force overtime as junior forward Xavier Blackburn hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to go to tie the game at 67-67.

Williams tallied 16 of his team-high 19 points after halftime connected on 8-of-15 shots with a pair of 3-pointers.

"He really carried us while playing with four fouls," Haggerty said. "He took over there for a while and really helped us get back into the basketball game."

Senior forward Eddie D'Haiti chipped in 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Blackburn proved efficient going 4-for-6 from the field to finish with 11 points to go along with eight rebounds of his own.

Senior guard DeJuan Plummer splashed in a pair of 3-pointers to finish with 14 points off of the bench.

Blackmon rattled in five treys on his way to a game-high 24 points as Eastern New Mexico fell to 13-10 on the season and 6-5 in LSC play.

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