November 7, 2013
Santa Clarita, CA -- Dominique Lanier sparked a decisive run midway through the second half and posted a double-double to lead The Master's College to a 92-76 win over visiting West Coast Baptist in the season opener Thursday evening on Bross Court.
The victory was a real struggle for the Mustangs who shook off some sloppy play and a pesky Eagle team, and then turned to Lanier (Lakewood, CA) to avoid an upset.
Trailing 62-59 with 11:34 left to play, the junior transfer scored on a pair of twisting, turning layups to put the Mustangs ahead to stay, keying a 17-4 run over a seven-minute span in the process. Five other teammates scored during the burst, including redshirt freshman Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA), who drained a three-pointer, and junior forward Chris Patureau (Houston, TX), who capped things off with a jumper at the 4:40 mark for a 76-66 lead.
The Eagles got no closer than seven points (81-74) the rest of the way and when they did, Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) responded with a trifecta that ignited a 9-0 skein to put the game in the win column. Shackelford added four points down the stretch, too.
That fast finish was a marked contrast to the way the Mustangs started the game. Taking advantage of four Mustang turnovers in the first five minutes, the Eagles used a trio of three-pointers to fly to a 12-6 with 14:45 left in the opening half. A Zach Stalin (Bellingham, WA) trey and a Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC) layup drew the Mustangs to within one but the Eagles, capitalizing on four more Mustang miscues, answered with an 8-2 run capped off by a Travis Burkett three-pointer to move ahead 20-13 at the 10:25 mark.
That was the Eagles' largest lead of the game and one that the Mustangs overcame rather quickly. A Fain jumper with 9:15 left in the half sparked an 8-0 run and when Stalin canned a pair of free throws a little over a minute later (7:55), the Mustangs moved in front (21-20) for the first time since the game's opening minute.
However, the Eagles refused to go away, quickly regaining the lead and setting up a back-and-forth pattern in a four-minute window that featured seven lead changes and four ties. The last of those knots came at 35-all and was snapped by a Shackelford three-pointer followed by a Stalin layup before the Eagles closed out the half with five straight points, sending the clubs to the locker room all even at 40.
The Mustangs were fortunate to be tied after committing 14 turnovers but 54% shooting from the field compensated. Stalin led the Mustangs with a dozen points at the break.
The first nine minutes of the second half were played just as closely as no more than five points separated the clubs during that time. The Eagles used an 8-2 run in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second stanza to go up 50-45 but Bernard Ireland (Rialto, CA) sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around four points by Logan and Stalin added a jumper to spark a 12-2 skein that vaulted the Mustangs back in front 57-52 with 14:57 left to play.
Back came the Eagles, though. They erased that deficit in a little over two minutes, outscoring the Mustangs 10-2 to go in front 62-59 at the 11:34 mark. That was the last lead they would enjoy, however, as Lanier and his teammates went to work over the next seven minutes to put the game away.
After that turnover-plagued first half, the Mustangs committed just three in the second half and that, combined with 53% (21-40) shooting, was enough to to win.
Logan picked up where he left off last year with another workman-like showing, pacing the Mustangs with 21 and notching a double-double with 10 rebounds. Lanier added 16 more points and took down a game-high 13 rebounds while Stalin equaled that point total and added nine caroms as the Mustangs dominated the glass to the tune of 49-26. Fain threw in 13 points, Ireland added a dozen more, and Shackelford chipped in with 10 points while dishing out four assists.
The Mustangs return to action on Saturday evening when they host Southern Oregon in a 7:00pm start on Bross Court.