STEPHENVILLE — Corinthian Ramsey and Josh Hawley have been leading Tarleton State all season and are very familiar playing close games against rival MSU Texas. That experience was key Thursday night as the duo took control of the game in the second half and led the Texans to an 82-73 win over the Mustangs in front of 1,728 fans.
“I really thought defensively we played well until about 10 minutes to go in the second half," Tarleton State head coach Chris Reisman said. "We started to give up a lot of three’s and turn the basketball over."
With the game tied at 18 in the first half, Tarleton State (17-6, 7-5) went on a 12-2 run as Ramsey hit a huge fast break three point shot to end the run and give the Texans a lead they would never relinquish.
“The fight that we had in the second half. We were in position to go up in the game," MSU Texas head coach Nelson Haggerty said. "We turned the ball over. We’re not giving ourselves an opportunity to sustain a run."
MSU Texas (6-16, 2-10) would not go without a fight in the second half as they pulled within four points with 15:29 remaining. That’s when Ramsey scored the next five points to extend the Texans lead back to nine points.
“Give a lot of credit to Midwestern State," Teisman said. "They hit some big shots. They never gave up and we knew they wouldn’t. Their kids are very resilient, and we knew we would have to play 40 minutes to have a chance to win the game."
The Mustangs would continue to fight down the stretch, but Hawley and Ramsey combined to score 18 of the Texans’ final 23 points to close out the game.
Corinthian Ramsey tied his season high as he led Tarleton State with 27 points. Josh Hawley added 16 points and nine rebounds while Jesse Hill chipped in 18 points for the Texans.
“Teams have really tried to stop him (Ramsey) and get the ball out of his hands, but I just felt like he was due for a game like this and tonight he took some tough shots and made some tough shots,” Reisman said. “Josh Hawley’s been in this league for a long time and he plays for these big type of moments.”
MSU Texas was led by JaJuan Starks who scored a season high 27 points to lead the Mustangs. Freshman Terrell Wilson added 14 points and made 3-of-4 from beyond the three-point line while Gilbert Thomas added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Mustangs.
“JaJuan (Starks) was great tonight. He really did a better job finding his spots in the zone than the first time we played them,” Haggerty said. “Terrell (Wilson) made some perimeter shots tonight which is great. He can just score from everywhere. He can make plays for others and he’s a tough kid.”
INSIDE THE SERIES:
Tarleton State won for the seventh straight time to extend their longest winning streak in the rivalry.
MSU Texas leads the overall series 47-33 and are 16-15 at Tarleton State in a rivalry that began in 1962.
Since 1988, The Texans hold a 31-27 lead and are 13-10 at home during that stretch. Tarleton State had another nice crowd for the rivalry game and gave the Texans plenty of energy down the stretch.
“That’s one thing about Wisdom Gym," Reisman said. "They’re such a huge energy for us and I tell the guys to use that crowd. Get them involved. That’s been a tradition here at Tarleton for a long time. We’ve been very tough to beat in this gym when we have crowds like that."
Tarleton State will host Cameron on Saturday afternoon as the Texans look to continue their recent stretch of hot play as they have won four of their last five games. The Texans own an impressive 30-9 record all-time against the Aggies.
MSU Texas will continue their four-game Lone Star Conference road trip as they play Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs will need to be prepared as they fight to earn a spot in the LSC tournament.
“We’re going to prepare for them and we’re going to compete," Haggerty said.They have really good experience and they can play inside, and they can play outside."
Cory Hogue is Dave Campbell's Texas Basketball small college correspondent follow him on Twitter at @HoagieSports and be sure to visit his website (linked below) for more coverage of Division II and Division III collegiate athletics.