A check of Thursday night’s box score shows clearly that The Master’s College men’s basketball team was more interested in tuning up for its next GSAC game than going all-out against non-conference foe, Cal State San Marcos.
Playing his regulars limited minutes, Coach Chuck Martin watched a plethora of reserves get major playing time in an 88-59 loss that dropped the Mustangs to 17-10 overall.
Although the loss didn’t affect the club’s GSAC record (9-6) it may have kept them from a realistic shot at 20 regular-season victories. The Mustangs play the first of three season-ending games on Saturday when they travel to San Diego to take on a Pt. Loma Nazarene squad that is one game ahead of them in the standings.
On this night, however, the Mustangs led only once and that was at 2-0 when Chris Patureau hit a jumper 13 seconds into play. From then on it was all Cougars who started the rout with an 11-0 run and when the clock showed 13 minutes left in the first half, the Mustangs found themselves down 19-4.
With none of the starters playing more than 14 minutes, the Mustangs were no match for a Cougar squad that won its seventh game in a row. The advantage reached 30-12 before the Mustangs put on their best run of the evening.
Fueled by five points from Mike Harmon, the Mustangs outscored the Cougars 10-1 in a 3:10 window to close to 31-22 with 6:16 left in the first half. The freshman guard followed an Anthony Wells’ jumper with a three-pointer, Casey Trujeque duplicated that, and Harmon finished things off with a pair of free throws.
That seemed to get the Cougars’ attention who responded with a 16-2 burst over the final six minutes to take a 47-24 halftime lead.
It didn’t get any better in the second half as the Cougars continued to run away from the Mustangs. They made it a 30-point advantage (60-30) with 15:11 remaining and led by as many as 44 points (84-40) before cruising home for the win.
Richard LaFleur paced the Mustangs with a career-high 14 points, Wells added 12 more, and Trujuque tossed in 10 points.