January 22, 2013
Santa Clarita, CA -- Cooper Damron scored the go-ahead basket with 50 seconds left to play and sixth-ranked Westmont held off The Master's College to post a 75-71 victory Tuesday evening in a raucous Bross Gym.
The loss was the fifth in the past six outings for the upset-minded Mustangs who wasted a career-high 31 points from Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) and fell to 1-4 in the GSAC and 12-8 overall.
Damron's layup with less than a minute to go proved to be the 11th and final lead change of the evening and the Warriors tallied their final five points from the line to preserve the victory. The go-ahead basket was right in the middle of a 2:31 scoreless stretch for the Mustangs who went ahead 69-68 on a Fain three-point play with 2:36 remaining but didn't score again until Leif Karlberg (Anchorage, AK) scooped in an uncontested layup with five ticks left on the clock.
The margins separating the two squads over the final 20 minutes of play were as close as expected, highlighted by eight ties and 10 lead changes. The game was tied 34-all at halftime but the Warriors tallied the first five points of the second stanza. Back came the Mustangs, who tore off seven straight points, highlighted by a spectacular alley-oop dunk by Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC) off a Fain lob, to take a 41-39 lead with 17:21 remaining.
But, just as quickly, the Warriors retaliated with a 6-0 run to move back in front by four points (45-41) with 15:28 left to play. From there the game ebbed and flowed the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than five points.
One of those margins (56-51) was owned by the Mustangs following an 8-0 skein in a 1:10 span. A Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) three-pointer ignited the run, Karlberg followed with another trifecta, and Fain finished it off with a layup. That lead lasted less than a minute as the Warriors roared back to tie it on a three-pointer by Christopher Miller and a Jordan Sachs' layup at the 9:20 mark.
Neither club would enjoy another run until the Warriors, keyed by Damron's basket, created their decisive, late-game burst. Final evidence of the closeness that marked play over the final 20 minutes came from the field where both clubs shot an identical 14-23 (60.9%).
Although the first half didn't offer the nail-biting action of the second stanza, there was still plenty to cheer about if you were a Mustang fan, especially during the game's first 15 minutes.
Fain, who drained four three-pointers in the game, canned his first trey of the evening to snap a two-all tie at the 17:38 mark, handing the Mustangs a lead they wouldn't relinquish for the next 14 minutes. Five straight points by Karlberg extended the lead to 10-4 and when the senior sharpshooter converted a layup with 13:01 remaining in the half, the Mustangs enjoyed a 15-7 advantage.
The Warriors fought back with five straight points to close within 15-12 at the 10:49 mark but a Korey Anderson (Clovis, CA) free throw, a Logan layup, and a stingy defense that kept the visitors off the board for over four minutes combined to give the Mustangs a six-point lead (18-12).
Logan and Fain led another charge for the Mustangs as the two combined for all seven points during a 7-2 run that produced the evening's largest lead (25-16) with 4:47 left in the stanza.
However, in a preview of what was to come after intermission, the Warriors closed the half strong, outscoring the Mustangs 18-5 in a 3:20 stretch to take a 34-30 lead with just over a minute to play before the break. Anderson and Devin Dyer (Temecula, CA) stopped the momentum, though, as a layup by the former and a buzzer-beating jumper from the latter sent the squads to the locker room deadlocked.
Fain and Logan tallied 13 and nine points, respectively, during a half in which the Mustangs shot 48% (12-25) from the field while holding the Warriors to 43% accuracy.
Fain's game-high point total came on 11-14 shooting from the field, including a 4-5 mark from behind the arc. Logan and Karlberg chipped in with 12 points apiece.
The Mustangs finish off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they host San Diego Christian in a 7:30pm start in Bross Gym.
In other GSAC action Tuesday night, No. 15 Hope International clobbered Biola 71-37, Arizona Christian edged San Diego Christian 74-70, and Concordia beat Vanguard 84-74.