Offensive struggles doom MSU in loss to St. Mary’s

Midwestern State jumped out to an early lead on Saturday before the size of St. Mary’s caused the Mustangs problems they could not solve in a disappointing 59-55 loss to the Rattlers.

The Mustangs held a 15-10 lead with 10:14 left in the first half but only scored six more points in the half and trailed the Rattlers 29-21 at the break.

“Where we were struggling was being tough enough to make the right read with the ball in our hands,” MSU coach Justin Leslie said. “This was a game that we knew they were going to pressure the ball and be in your face, and you have to drive by them and make an aggressive play.”

MSU struggled to make the aggressive plays making only 13 of 35 attempts (37.1 percent) from inside the three-point arc in the contest. 

“They’re bringing over a 6-foot-8 monster that’s going to help, and so it becomes a sacrificial drive,” Leslie said. “You have to draw them to you and make the pass, and we were getting rid of the ball before that second man came or we were making a pass that wasn’t going to be an assist. We weren’t resolved enough to fight for each possession in the paint.”

On Thursday, the Mustangs showed toughness and resolve against St. Edward’s but were timid against the bigger Rattlers’ defense. Toughness is something the young Mustangs have discussed recently.

“You get results out of what you emphasize,” Leslie said. “We went through 33 categories of toughness with the team a little over a week ago, and we had them evaluate themselves in each area. Tonight, we failed ourselves on those finer details.”

St. Mary’s 59, Midwestern State 55

ST. MARY’S (4-7, 1-1)

Caleb Jordan 1-5 1-2 3; Tyler Caron 3-7 0-0 8; Mamady Djikine 6-8 3-5 15; Kobe Magee 5-17 0-0 12; Ryan Leonard 4-10 2-3 12; Josh Brewer 2-9 0-1 4; Timmy Benavides 0-1 0-0 0; Emmanuel Ewuzie 2-3 1-3 5; Luke Schultz 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 23-60 7-16 59.

MIDWESTERN STATE (5-10, 1-3)

Jordan Teal 0-3 0-0 0; Jalin Brown 2-3 0-0 4; Jamey Sanders 4-13 1-1 12; Terrell Wilson 5-11 0-0 12; Jermane Carter 2-8 2-3 6; Amaechi Chukwu 3-8 0-2 6; Travis Massey 0-2 0-0 0; John Weger 0-1 0-0 0; Pierre Sanders 5-9 2-2 15. Totals 21-58 5-8 55.

Halftime score — StMU 29, MSU 21. 3-Point Goals — StMU 6-27 (Jordan 0-3, Caron 2-6, Magee 2-10, Leonard 2-4, Brewer 0-3, Benavides 0-1); MSU 8-23 (Teal 0-1, J. Sanders 3-10, Wilson 2-4, Carter 0-2, Weger 0-1, P. Sanders 3-5). Fouled Out — StMU (None); MSU (Wilson). Rebounds — StMU 44 (Ewuzie 8); MSU 38 (Brown, P. Sanders 7). Assists — StMU 14 (Magee 6); MSU 9 (Brown 3). Total Fouls — StMU 15, MSU 17. Technicals — StMU (None); MSU (None). A — 1,017.