|Happy New Year!|
Leif Karlberg tallied a team-high 21 points and Joey Fuca and Anthony Cammon added 14 more apiece as The Master’s College rung in the new year with a 71-66 decision over Cal Maritime Saturday afternoon in Bross Gym.
With the threesome providing nearly 70% of the offense, the Mustangs ran their winning streak to a season-high five games and improved to 8-6 overall.
Karlberg’s first of four three-pointers capped off a trifecta rush that gave the Mustangs an early 9-4 lead. Devin Dyer and Fuca preceded the sophomore guard with three-balls of their own. He wasn’t done either as his second trey was part of a 12-0 run over a 4:42 span that pushed the advantage to 21-6 at the 11:06 mark of the first half. Junior transfer Anthony Wells fueled the burst with a layup and Cammon finished it off with a similar basket.
The Keelhaulers snapped a 5:18 scoring drought with a bucket but it did little to slow down the Mustangs who extended the advantage to 27-11 on a Ronnie Dodd layup with 8:03 left in the first half. It was the club’s largest lead of the game and it would enjoy a trio of 14-point leads before Cal Maritime decided to show up.
And show up the Keelhaulers did. Down 32-18 with 3:02 remaining in the half, the visitors reeled off seven of the game’s next nine points to pull within 34-25 at the break. The Mustangs, led by Karlberg’s nine first-half points, shot 48% from the field over the opening 20 minutes while limiting Cal Maritime to 38% accuracy.
But that half-ending momentum carried over into the first five minutes of the second half and vastly improved shooting led the way for the Keelhaulers who rode Haven Piatt’s three-point barrage back into the game.
Piatt, who scored just three points (a trifecta) in the first half, dialed in four bombs from behind the arc in a 2:52 window, taking the Keelhaulers from an 11-point deficit (36-25) to a one-point lead (41-40) at the 15:46 mark.
But, Fuca nailed a jumper on the Mustangs’ next possession to reclaim the lead and the hosts never trailed again. However, this one was far from finished.
Another Karlberg three-pointer with 11:49 left to play gave the Mustangs a 47-43 lead and a layup by the sophomore nearly three minutes later extended the margin to six points (53-47). But, the Keelhaulers didn’t go away.
With Piatt (20 second-half points) capping off a 6-0 spurt, the visitors pulled into a 53-all tie with 7:26 left to play. As he has so many times before, though, Fuca responded, hitting a jumper to put the Mustangs back in front (55-53), this time for good.
Cammon scored on a layup to push the lead to four points but the Keelhaulers continued to come, closing to one point on two more occasions before the Karlberg-Fuca-Cammon triumvirate put them away.
Scoring the team’s final 20 points, the trio kept the Mustangs in front the rest of the way. Fuca’s three-ball with 2:57 remaining gave the Mustangs a four-point (62-58) lead and when Cal Maritime closed to 62-61, Cammon countered with a pair of charity tosses.
Fuca followed with a layup on the next possession and when Cammon dropped in two more free throws with 29 seconds left, the Mustangs had a decisive 6-0 spurt and a 68-61 advantage. Karlberg polished things off with three more free tosses.
Karlberg was 4-8 from behind the arc en route to his team-high total. Fuca, who dished out a game-high five assists, and Cammon each went 5-9 from the field.
The Mustangs hope this win was more than just a tune-up for GSAC play as they resume conference play Tuesday evening, hosting 18th-ranked Biola. Tip-off in Bross Gym is slated for 7:30pm.