No Offense But The Defense Is Shining

Santa Clarita, CA - It’s taken all of four games for The Master’s College to prove that it can play the kind of defense that can challenge the GSAC’s elite.  True, the Mustangs won’t play a conference game for another three weeks but the habits they’re fostering and the tenacity with which they are playing bodes well for the near future. 

Further evidence was on display Friday evening when the Mustangs limited visiting Arizona Christian to 31% shooting en route to a 63-40 handling of the Firestorm.  The win kept the Mustangs, who are holding opponents to 32% accuracy from the field, undefeated at 4-0.

Early on neither team could find the range with only four points being scored in the opening five minutes.  The Firestorm snapped a two-all tie on a Judah St. Amand three-pointer at the 15:03 mark but that was the only lead the visitors would enjoy the entire evening as Anthony Cammon countered with a tying trifecta, sparking a 7-0 spurt that put the Mustangs ahead for good.

But, the Mustangs couldn’t shake the pesky Firestorm during a very dull first half.  The Mustangs enjoyed a trio of six-point leads and extended the margin to 20-12 on a Cammon layup with 6:09 remaining in the half.  However, it took the Firestorm only 12 seconds to respond, ripping off six straight points to close within two.

The Mustangs stayed in front, thanks to Cammon who tallied six straight points down the stretch as TMC went to the break up 24-20.  Cammon led all scorers with nine first-half points.

As poor as the Mustangs shot during the opening 20 minutes, they started to show signs of offensive life in the first seven minutes of the second half.  After ACU closed to 27-25 on a Daniel Cornelius three-pointer at the 17:28 mark, Devin Dyer began to take things into his own hands.  The junior guard was the primary force in a game-changing 13-0 run that turned a close game into a runaway.

He tallied eight consecutive points in a three-minute span and then watched teammates Leif Karlberg and Mike Harmon finish the skein for a 40-25 lead.  The Mustangs didn’t stop there, either, outscoring the Firestorm 11-2 in a four-minute window to lengthen the advantage to 51-29.  Dyer, who scored 13 second-half points, was the instigator with a three-pointer and Hogan capped the burst with the first of two treys at the 6:24 mark.

The Mustangs led by as many as 28 points (60-32) in the waning moments and cruised to the win. 

Dyer tallied a game-high 18 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and was joined in double figures by Cammon and Karlberg, who scored 15 and 12 points, respectively.  Starting center Paul Brown pulled down a game-high eight rebounds as the Mustangs enjoyed a 39-31 advantage on the boards.

With four wins in their hip pocket, the Mustangs take a brief break from the regular season when they travel to Phoenix, Arizona, next Wednesday to face NCAA Division II Grand Canyon in an exhibition.  They return home on Saturday, November 19, to host Lewis & Clark from Portland, Oregon.