The 10-point advantage might lead one to believe Texas State (5-3) controlled the game throughout their 65-55 victory over the University of Lamar (3-5), but the contest was back and forth until the final stretch.
The first half was a bit of a brick fest for both teams, as the Bobcats connected on just 39% of its field goals while Lamar could only convert on 30% of its attempts.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early 10-6 lead after a steal and layup by freshman guard Cody Pennebaker.
However, Texas State soon found its rhythm and went on a 17-7 run to go on top 23-17. Senior guard Drue Drinnon's two steals, two assists and two buckets powered the Bobcats' resurgence.
Lamar would retort, but Texas State answered every time to take a 28-23 lead into the break.
Coming out of the half, Lamar was hot on the Bobcats' heels. The Cardinals closed the gap to just a single point twice before eventually taking a 37-36 lead.
Texas State's failure to secure a rebound after a Lamar free throw allowed junior guard Chirs Pryor to sink a triple and give his team its first lead since early in the first frame.
The Cardinals stretched its lead out after yet another steal led to a fast break layup for Nate Calmese, giving them the largest lead of the night at 42-37 with 9:57 to play.
It was officially gut-check time, but Texas State answered the call.
An assist from Drinnon led to an and-1 inside for Harrell, closing the gap to two. A few plays later, junior guard Brandon Davis followed a rebound with a 3-pointer that put Texas State back on top at 45-44.
Drinnon's last steal of the night allowed Harrell to lay it in, growing the Bobcats' lead to seven. However, the Cardinals cut that to just two at 53-51 after a jumper from freshman center Yuto Yamanouchi-Williams.
The Bobcats closed out the contest on a 12-4 run that featured poor execution from Lamar and clutch free throw shooting from the 'Cats.
Texas State's bench was a key factor in the win. The Bobcats reserves outscored Lamar's backups 18-9, with 11 of those points coming courtesy of Drinnon, who added six assists and four steals on his busy night.
Freshman forward Davion Sykes also finished in double-digits with 12 and led the team in rebounds with eight. Harrell continues to lead the team in scoring on a nightly basis, as he notched 18 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Coach Terrence Johnson recognized his three top performers post-game, commending them for their resilience in such a close match.
"We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a war," Johnson said. "They're well coached and talented. We had some guys step up tonight, especially Drue Drinnon and Davion Sykes, to help Mason carry us tonight. We were able to lock in late and get quality defensive stops which led to good shots on the other end."
After playing the last six games on the road, the Bobcats will finally be able to return to the friendly confines of Strahan Arena where they'll face the University of Rice Owls.
Tip off is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 at Strahan Arena, in San Marcos, Texas.