March 6, 2014
Phoenix, AZ -- If this is what it takes to win games, The Master's College men's basketball team wouldn't mind playing a little extra every night.
For the third time this season, the Mustangs were extended to double overtime and for the third time they came away victorious, using a late Chris Patureau putback and a Jason Logan free throw to edge Arizona Christian 80-77 in a GSAC Tournament first-round game Thursday evening in the Valley of the Sun.
The victory, snapping a two-game losing streak, propelled the seventh-seeded Mustangs into the conference semi-finals where they'll take on third-seeded Hope International Saturday evening in Fullerton. It will be the clubs' third meeting this year.
Patureau's offensive return, after he rebounded a Dominique Lanier (Lakewood, CA) miss, snapped a 77-all tie with 51 seconds remaining in the second extra stanza and after a pair of charity misses by ACU's Jordan Block 15 seconds later, Logan went to the line and made one of two for a three-point lead. The Firestorm's last possession was not crisp and when Talib Uqdah missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, the Mustangs had more than just a big road win.
The Mustangs never trailed in the second overtime as Zach Stalin (Bellingham, WA) put the club ahead 74-71 on a three-point play with 4:28 left and Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) drained a three-pointer 39 seconds later for a 77-73 lead. It would take almost three minutes before the Mustangs scored again and when they did, it was decisive.
No more than three points separated the clubs in the first overtime stanza that featured three ties and a like number of lead changes. After Korey Anderson (Clovis, CA) scored on a layup to give the Mustangs a 65-63 lead, the Firestorm tore off five points in a row to take a three-point advantage that vanished on a Lanier three-point play. The teams then traded trifectas, one by Fain and the other by Block, sending the game to double overtime.
Regulation play was marked by tough defense and see-saw results. Employing a zone that confused the Firestorm, the Mustangs broke out to a pair of seven-point leads in the opening nine minutes. A Bernard Ireland (Victorville, CA) three-pointer with 12:38 left in the first half put the Mustangs up 14-7 and when the junior guard dunked on a breakaway, they led 16-9.
However, the Firestorm, which hit just three of their first 12 shots, responded with a 10-4 skein, pulling within 20-19 on a Jackson Helms' layup at the 6:27 mark. Now it was the Mustangs' turn to struggle offensively and the Firestorm capitalized, holding the Mustangs scoreless over the half's final six minutes while producing six points to move ahead 25-22 at the break.
In a half dominated by defense, the Mustangs hit just 41% (9-22) from the field while the Firestorm was a little better at 43%.
Those percentages changed significantly in the second half, trending upward over the final 20 minutes and resulting in nine ties and six lead changes.
Fain scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in that window, including the first five of the stanza to tie the game at 27 with 19:27 left. Almost seven minutes later, his trio of free throws put the Mustangs back in front 39-38. Another trey from the junior sharpshooter with 7:32 remaining once again gave the Mustangs the lead, 51-48. It was the last advantage the Mustangs would enjoy in regulation.
That margin lasted all of 34 seconds as a Firestorm three-pointer knotted the game and another put the hosts ahead. The Mustangs drew even at 58 on a Stalin layup with 2:32 on the clock before a Brandon Newman trey gave the Firestorm a three-point edge.
Lanier countered with a basket to draw his club within one, however, two free throws by Mason Jones reclaimed a three-point (63-60) edge for the hosts. It stayed that way until a desperate Mustang team found Fain for a clutch three-pointer that tied the game with 23 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.
Over the final 20 minutes, the Mustangs converted nearly 62% (16-26) while the Firestorm were just as good (13-21).
Fain's game-high total came on 7-13 shooting, including a 6-9 effort from behind the arc. It's the second-most treys he's made in a game this year. Anderson added 15 points and Stalin notched 14 more.
The Mustangs will need that and more Saturday evening when they play at Hope International. The Mustangs were swept by the Royals in conference play, losing 74-65 at Fullerton on January 14 and dropping a 64-58 decision in the regular-season finale last Saturday.