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Williams burns Buffs with 27, MSU wins 76-70

Midwestern State just wasn't going to lose Wednesday night at the First United Bank Center.
Midwestern State just wasn't going to lose Wednesday night at the First United Bank Center.

And senior guard Monzaigo Williams did everything he could to will the Mustangs to a 76-70 win over West Texas A&M to improve to 10-4 on the season and go to 2-0 in Lone Star Conference play.

"'Zaigo was incredible all night long," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "Once he hit a few shots, he really got going. Every shot he took seemed to go straight through the basket. I don't know how many shots he hit in a row but it seemed like everything was going in."

The Palmdale, Calif. product knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers near the end of the first half as the Mustangs overcame a 14-point deficit to pull within 42-40 at the intermission.

"Hats off to (West Texas A&M) coach (Vinay) Patel," Haggerty said. "They did a good job with that zone early. They went smaller with four guards and they can all play. It took us a while to get going. Monzaigo stepped into some shots and really got us going."

Williams connected on 11-of-14 shots from the field while burying five treys to finish with a game-high 27 points. He added five rebounds and dished out three assists.

But early on, it was all West Texas A&M as the Buffs used the 3-point arc by burying five bombs to extend their advantage to 33-19 with 5:46 to play in the first half.

The Mustangs had the answer as senior guard DeJuan Plummer broke the dike with a 3-ball from the left wing and Williams followed with three straight treys as a part of a 13-0 run which allowed MSU to tie the game at 38-38 on Plummer's transition layup 1:38 before intermission.

"We handled adversity very well. We just came down and accepted the position we were in," Haggerty said. "We were able to hit a few shots until we were able to get a few stops. Possession are just so key in this game. We did a good job of not turning the ball over and taking advantage of the possessions we had."

The Mustangs didn't claim their first advantage of the night until Williams banged in his fifth 3 of the game from the right corner for a 47-46 just over three minutes into the second half.

West Texas A&M bounced back to grasp the advantage just once the remainder of the way as MSU used an 8-2 spurt capped by a Williams' midrange jumper for a 70-65 lead with 3:36 to go.

Junior forward Xavier Blackburn had 16 points and seven rebounds while Derek Kaster pitched in eight points and three rebounds off of the bench as Midwestern won for the a second consecutive year in Canyon for the first time in series history.

Senior point Drimir Ferguson had 15 points and eight assists to pace the Buffs, who fell to 7-5 and 0-1.

Midwestern State plays host to Eastern New Mexico Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
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