November 9, 2013
Santa Clarita, CA -- Eric Thompson poured in a game-high 34 points and Southern Oregon blistered the nets in the second half points to power past The Master's College 92-80 Saturday evening on Bross Court.
The loss dropped the Mustangs to 1-1 in the first week of the 2013-14 campaign.
Down 42-38 at halftime, the nation's fourth-ranked NAIA Division II squad roared to life, hitting 20 of 32 shots (62.5%) from the field and outscoring the Mustangs 54-38 over the final 20 minutes in the process. Thompson, who scored 17 points in each half, was right in the middle of it, too, going 5-9 from the field, including 3-4 from behind the arc. David Sturner complemented his teammate well, pouring in 14 more.
It was a disappointing outcome for the Mustangs who overcame an early, first-half deficit, appeared to take total control, watched the Raiders rally and then put the game out of reach down the stretch.
Behind five points from Bernard Ireland (Rialto, CA) the Mustangs raced to an early 9-3 lead before the Raiders retaliated with 11 points in a row to go ahead 14-9 with 14:29 left in the first half.
The early pattern of momentum-changing runs continued and this time it was the Mustangs' turn after a Thompson layup with 12:12 remaining gave the Raiders an 18-12 lead. Fueled by back-to-back Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) jumpers the Mustangs proceeded to reel off 16 points in a row, turning a six-point deficit into a 10-point lead (28-18) at the 7:29 mark. Fain drained a three-pointer along the way and Ireland capped it all off with another trey.
However, that wasn't good enough as the Raiders responded with seven consecutive points and 12 of 15 to draw within 31-30 with 4:53 left in the half. A minute later they caught the Mustangs at 33-all before the hosts got a layup and a three-pointer from Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA), and layups from Zach Stalin (Bellingham, WA) and Dominique Lanier (Lakewood, CA) to take a 42-38 halftime lead.
The Mustangs shot 47% (17-36) in the first half with Ireland scoring a team-best 13 points. Thompson paced the Raiders, who converted 44% of their shots, with 17 points.
The Raiders didn't waste any time coming out of the break as Thompson and Sturner combined for 12 of the team's 20 points to blast by the Mustangs, taking a 58-50 lead with 14:16 left to play. The Raiders would never trail again.
However, it wasn't like the Mustangs let the Raiders walk all over them. Ireland wouldn't let them. The junior transfer scored seven points as part of a 9-2 skein as the Mustangs pulled within 60-59 with 12:40 left to play.
The Raiders countered that, extending the margin to eight points in less two minutes as a Sturner three-pointer made it 67-59. Again, the Mustangs responded, closing to within one point twice in a four-minute window. The first instance came with 9:12 showing on the clock when a pair of Lanier free throws made it a 67-66 game and the other was at the 6:47 mark when a Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) tip-in sliced the deficit to 73-72.
However, the Mustangs just couldn't rally all the way back. Each time they were on the verge of overtaking the Raiders, the visitors would fend them and they did that decisively after the Mustangs made it a one-point game for the last time.
A Sturner layup ignited a 10-0 run in a two-minute span that turned a nail-biter into a comfortable victory and the Raiders enjoyed a pair of game-high 14-point leads (88-74 and 90-76) in the contest's final minutes.
While the Raiders were singing the nets in the second half, the Mustangs managed just 41% (13-32) accuracy and wound up at 44% for the game.
Ireland was extremely impressive, scoring a team-high 24 points that featured six treys. Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC) scored a dozen points, Lanier and Fain had 11 apiece, and Stalin rounded out the club's double-figure scorers with 10 points.
After a couple of days off, the Mustangs return to action on Tuesday evening when they welcome NCAA Division II power Cal Poly Pomona to Bross Court.