March 8, 2014
FULLERTON, Calif. – The clock struck midnight on The Master’s College men’s basketball team’s Cinderella season when the Hope International Royals topped the Mustangs 61-56 in the GSAC Tournament Semifinal Saturday night in Fullerton.
With the loss, the Mustangs’ 2013-14 season closes with a 19-12 overall record and a 6-8 conference record.
“I'm proud of our guys for the way they competed the last week of the season,” commented head coach Chuck Martin. “It truly was a fun group to coach this year."
From the start, the Mustangs faced an uphill battle as the Royals maintained a 1-9 point advantage for the entirety of the first half. Highlighting the Mustangs’ efforts in the first stanza was a seven-point run that cut the Royals’ lead to 1 point (17-16) with 5:10 left to play. However, the Royals responded by posting a 10-4 run which brought the score to 27-20 at the half.
The Royals extended its lead to a game-high 10-point lead at the 16:34 mark in the second half. But, the Mustangs fought back and tied the game at 41-41 when senior Jason Logan (Spartansburg, SC) drained a free throw at the 7:10 mark. However, the Royals managed to pull away from the Mustangs and maintained the lead until the end of the game.
“We competed like crazy in the second half but missed some crucial free throws that would have tied the game or put us ahead late,” further assessed Martin. “To come into Hope and out rebound a great rebounding team and get to the free throw line like we did and not be able to get over the hump was disappointing.”
Collectively, the Mustangs yanked down 31 rebounds. As a team, TMC went 19-46 from the field, 4-16 from behind the arc, and 14-22 from the charity stripe. Logan led the Mustangs in scoring with 13 points while Zach Stalin (Bellingham, WA) and Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) each posted 11 points.
And while the Mustangs now head back to Santa Clarita with another season in the books, things look bright for The Master’s College men’s basketball as the squad will only graduate one senior (Logan), but return 12 seasoned veterans.