By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 14, 2015) — It looked like Metropolitan State-Denver was going to do it again.
For a third straight year.
But down five with 5:38 to play, the Mustangs finally said that’s enough. And finally made it past Metro State.
Midwestern eliminated the Roadrunners, regular season champions in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, 58-56 in a South Central Region quarterfinal at Wisdom Gym Saturday. Metro State had ended Midwestern’s previous two seasons, both in regionals hosted by the Roadrunners in Denver.
Bretson McNeal spearheaded the Mustang comeback with 10 points over the final 5:17. He hit two 3-pointers and converted a layup into an ‘And-1’ play, knocking down the ensuing free throw for a 56-54 edge. He also hit one of two foul shots for a 57-54 lead with six seconds left.
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the Year Mitch McCarron drove for a dunk instead of kicking the ball out for a potential game-tying 3-pointer, and Roadrunners were left trailing 57-56 with less than a second on the clock.
Kevin Wagner finished the scoring with a free throw at the other end.
McNeal scored 19 and Wagner 14 to lead Midwestern, the only team to defeat host Tarleton State this season at Wisdom Gym.
Nicholas Kay had his way inside with 29 points and 13 rebounds for Metro State, while McCarron added 14. The rest of the Roadrunners, however, combined for just 13 points.