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Mustangs Ride Karlberg, Second-Half Surge to Win

Photo Credit Dhon Wellons

Leif Karlberg tallied 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and The Master�s College pulled away from West Coast Baptist to post an 80-64 victory Tuesday evening in its home opener in Bross Gym.

Karlberg, who poured in seven three-pointers in a season-opening win over Bethany three nights earlier, duplicated that feat against the Eagles and four of those came over the final 20 minutes when the Mustangs outscored the visitors 45-31 to push their record to 2-0.

The first half was a much different story despite the Mustangs� fast start that gave the illusion of a rout. Sparked by the first of three opening-half trifectas by Karlberg, the Mustangs bolted to a 7-0 lead over the first 2:20 of play and when the sophomore sharpshooter drained another trey with 14:40 left in the half, the Mustangs had a 12-4 lead.

They were still up 14-6 just over two minutes later when the Eagles showed signs of life. Sparked by a Carlos Johnson three-pointer, the visitors ran off 13 of the game�s next 19 points and drew to within 20-19 on a Colton Cochrane layup with 9:06 left in the half.

Senior guard Joey Fuca responded with a three-pointer 28 seconds later but no more than four points separated the clubs over the next three minutes. Then, with just over five minutes left in the half, junior transfer Anthony Wells drilled a three-pointer and when teammate Anthony Cammon followed with baskets on the next two possessions, the Mustangs had their largest lead of the half, 35-26.

But, the Eagles didn�t fold. Instead they ended the half by scoring the final seven points and went to halftime down by only two points. The Mustangs outshot the Eagles 50%-45% over the opening 20 minutes and Karlberg led all scorers with nine points.

Coming out of the break, the Eagles continued their hot hand as Akeem Smith�s three-pointer capped off what turned out to be a 10-0 burst, giving the visitors their first and only advantage of the evening, 36-35.

Karlberg made sure that would be short-lived as he drained three-pointers on the Mustangs� next two trips down the court, igniting a 10-0 run that put the hosts in front to stay. Fuca added a layup and Cammon finished off the decisive skein with a jumper at the 16:04 mark for a 45-36 lead.

The Eagles made it a seven-point game on their next possession but that was as close as they got the rest of the way as the Mustangs methodically pulled away.

A Wells� layup with 15:21 remaining keyed an 8-3 spurt as Fuca, Paul Brown, and Brandon Bibbins all contributed to a lead that grew to 53-41 less than four minutes later. The Eagles made one more push, scoring the next four points, but Devin Dyer put an end to that streak with a three-pointer for a 56-45 advantage 10:04 showing on the clock.

Two Johnson free throws pulled the Eagles to within nine points but a Cammon jumper with 8:46 left pushed the advantage back into double figures and was the beginning of the end for the Eagles. The Cammon basket ignited a 12-5 run over the next three minutes, giving the Mustangs a 68-52 lead with 5:29 remaining. Ronnie Dodd, Karlberg, Brown, Dyer, and Andy Shannon tossed in two points apiece.

And, it was only fitting on another big evening that Karlberg would give the Mustangs their largest lead. His sixth trey of the evening with 4:33 left pushed the advantage to 71-54.

Karlberg, who scored a career-high 25 points against Bethany, went 7-10 from behind the arc en route to a game-high 23 points and paced four Mustangs in double figures. Cammon had 13 points, Fuca added 11 more, and Dyer tossed in 10 off the bench.

Now the Mustangs hit the road for the next month, playing their next six contests away from Bross Gym, beginning with next Monday�s game at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon.

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