November 10, 2012
Santa Clarita, CA - Leif Karlberg kept The Master's College in the game in the first half and the defense took West Coast Baptist out of it in the second as the Mustangs staved off the upset-minded Eagles 84-77 Saturday evening in Bross Gym.
The victory capped off a very successful first week of play for the Mustangs who improved to 3-0 on the strength of Karlberg's 19 points and a defense that stymied a hot-shooting Eagle squad over the final 20 minutes.
Karlberg (Anchorage, AK) tallied seven of his club's first 11 points and the Mustangs galloped to an early 13-7 lead. The offense came easily for the Mustangs during the first seven minutes of play as they connected on eight of their first 13 shots. The only problem was on the other end where the Eagles were nearly as accurate and tied the game at 21-all on a Ryan Holmes' three-pointer with 10:42 left in the opening half.
Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC), who is developing into quite an offensive force off the bench, snapped the deadlock with two consecutive layups but the Eagles kept coming. Sparked by a Mark Rasmussen trifecta, the Eagles outscored the Mustangs 9-1 in less than two minutes to take a 30-26 lead at the 6:52 mark. The Eagles lived on the three-ball in the first half, going 8-16 from behind the arc.
Rasmussen drained two more treys over the next three minutes to either keep his club in front or tie the game. His last three-pointer knotted the game at 38-all after Karlberg buried the first of his four from long range to give the Mustangs a short-lived advantage. His second three-pointer with 1:16 left in the half keyed a quick, 5-0 burst that Devin Dyer (Temecula, CA) finished off with a layup to tie the game once again, this time at 46 with under a minute remaining.
The clubs traded free throws and went to the break knotted at 48-all. The Mustangs shot a respectable 47% in the first half but the Eagles were even better at nearly 55%. Karlberg had 13 points in the half while Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) tossed in 11 more.
Karlberg drained two three-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half but the Eagles equaled that, tying the game at 56-all on a Colton Cochrane trey with 15:44 left to play. Over the next two minutes, the clubs traded baskets and the lead before the Mustang defense and Logan went to work.
Down 60-59 at the 14:02 mark, the Mustangs turned to Logan and the junior transfer delivered, scoring six points during a decisive, 13-0 run that turned the game completely around. Sophomore center Austin Loeb (Cypress, CA), another productive Mustang off the bench, contributed four points, including the capper to the skein at the 9:05 mark. Not to be overlooked was a suddenly effective Mustang defense that made the Eagles miss seven consecutive shots, taking them out of the game, 72-60.
The contest was far from over and the Eagles did manage to close within six points on four occasions down the stretch but the Mustangs had an answer each time. Derrick Fain's (Dallas, TX) jumper with 6:15 remaining was the first answer, Paul Brown's layup with 3:14 remaining made it 80-72, Monice Garrett (Houston, TX) gave the Mustangs another eight-point (82-74) cushion with a jumper at the 1:31 mark, and two free throws by the sophomore transfer over a minute later sealed the deal.
Four other Mustangs scored in double figures to complement Karlberg's game-high point total. Logan and Patureau tallied 13 points apiece while both Loeb, who yanked down a game-high eight rebounds, and Dyer chipped in with 11 more. The Mustangs shot a sparkling 58% in the second stanza and the defense limited the Eagles to just 33% accuracy.
The Mustangs are happy with their 3-0 start but posting a fourth straight win will be their biggest challenge of the young season as the Mustangs play at NCAA Division II power Cal Poly Pomona on Tuesday evening.