|One Half Is Not Enough…Again|
For the third time in as many losses this season, The Master’s College men’s basketball team surrendered a halftime lead and then were outscored 15-6 in the final three minutes as Hope International beat the Mustangs 68-59 Tuesday evening in Fullerton.
The Mustangs’ third loss in their past four outings dropped them to the .500 mark overall (3-3) and in GSAC (1-1) action.
The Royals snapped a 53-all tie with 2:51 left on a Jeremy Kilgore layup and eventually led by as many 11 points (68-57) in closing out the win. The Mustangs led only three times in the second half, once coming out of the halftime break (29-28) and the other two (49-48, 51-50) on Ronnie Dodd baskets with under six minutes remaining.
The Mustangs came out slow following the opening tip, falling behind 4-0 but a Brandon Bibbins’ jumper with 13:41 left in the first half capped a 7-2 spurt that put the club ahead 7-6. The slightest of leads lasted all of 16 seconds before a Royal bucket put the hosts back ahead, setting up a see-saw struggle until halftime.
From the 13:25 mark until the break, the clubs were even five times and nine lead changes took place. The Mustangs led by as many as three points on two occasions (19-16, 25-22) while the Royals enjoyed a similar advantage once (16-13).
Paul Brown’s layup with 2:26 remaining in the opening half broke a 27-all tie and the Mustangs led 29-28 at intermission. Over the opening 20 minutes, the Mustangs outshot the Royals 34.5%-32% and forced eight turnovers. Senior Joey Fuca led the Mustangs with 10 points.
Hope came out of the locker room with a rush, tallying the first six points of the second half. Devin Dyer’s three-point play put an end to the spurt but the Mustangs weren’t able to catch the Royals until Brown’s layup with 12:04 remaining knotted the game at 38.
Three-pointers by Anthony Cammon and Leif Karlberg tied the game two other times over the next four minutes and when Dodd connected on a jumper with 5:38 left, the Mustangs had their first lead since halftime. But it proved to be an illusion leading up to Kilgore’s go-ahead basket almost three minutes later.
Neither team lit it up in the second half as the Royals shot a tick under 43% while the Mustangs finished at 41%. Fuca led the Mustangs with 14 points while Cammon added 11 more.
After a couple of days off, the Mustangs return to action on Saturday evening at Pomona Pitzer.