November 21, 2013
Merced, CA -- With Bernard Ireland pouring in a game-high 18 points, The Master's College shook off a disappointing loss two nights ago, leading virtually wire-to-wire in an 83-70 victory at UC Merced Thursday evening.
Playing on the road for the first time this season, the win improved the Mustangs to 4-2 two weeks into the 2013-14 campaign.
Ireland (Victorville, CA), one of five Mustangs to score in double figures, tallied four of the club's first six points but it was a Korey Anderson (Clovis, CA) basket with 14:46 left in the first half that snapped a six-all tie and put the visitors ahead to stay. That sparked a quick 6-0 burst that Anderson contributed a free throw to and Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) capped off with a three-point play.
Shooting crisply from the field, the Mustangs extended their lead into double digits (23-13) when Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC) rebounded a Shackelford miss and put it back in with 7:49 remaining. They lengthened the advantage to a half-high 15 points (31-16) just two minutes later as Travis Divita (Canyon Country, CA) duplicated Logan's effort with a putback.
Showing some fight, the Bobcats answered with one of their few runs of the evening, tearing off six straight points to reduce the deficit to 31-22 but as they did all evening long, the Mustangs rebounded, using a Shackelford three-pointer and an Ireland basket to boost the lead to 14 points with 2:34 left in the half.
A Derek Walters' (Fresno, CA) free throw at the 42-second mark sent the Mustangs to the half ahead 37-25.
The Bobcats reduced that deficit to nine points on a Michael Pierick trifecta 21 seconds into the second half, however, the Mustangs quickly retaliated on a Stalin basket and when Logan buried one with 17:36 left, the advantage had ballooned to 45-32.
While holding the Bobcats scoreless for over two minutes, the Mustangs built on their lead, lengthening it to 49-33 on a pair of Zach Stalin (Bellingham, WA) free throws with 14:34 remaining.
Just when it looked like the Mustangs were about to put the game away, the Bobcats fought back again, carving into the 16-point deficit with a 15-4 run in a three-and-a-half-minute window, closing to within 53-48 on two George Idehen charity tosses at the 10:57 mark.
Once again, though, the Mustangs proved resilient in the face of a dwindling lead and Ireland wasn't about to let it get away. Canning a pair of free throws and burying a trifecta, the junior guard ignited a 14-4 run in a 3:38 span that gave the Mustangs a 67-52 lead with just over seven minutes left to play.
Making one last run, the Bobcats reeled off seven straight points to slice the deficit to eight points (67-59) with just over six minutes remaining but a pair of Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) free throws and an Anderson hoop sparked a 12-3 skein that halted the Bobcats in their tracks and put the game away.
Ireland went 7-10 from the field en route to his game-high total and completed a marvelous all-around game with a game-high six rebounds while dishing out three assists. Logan and Stalin added 12 points apiece while Anderson and Shackelford each contributed 11 points off the bench.
After playing six games in 14 days, the Mustangs now get a much-deserved eight-day break before resuming action in the Lamont Ramsey Classic at Menlo on November 29-30.