The Master’s College thought Thursday night’s 29-point loss to Cal State San Marcos was an anomaly since the starters barely played. But, that same excuse couldn’t be used Saturday evening in San Diego where the Mustangs were dismembered by a hot-shooting Pt. Loma Nazarene club, 66-49.
The loss put a huge dent in the Mustangs’ hopes for a first-round home game in the upcoming GSAC Tournament, dropping them into sixth place (9-7 GSAC, 17-11 overall) with two contests left.
On this night, it wasn’t a matter of how well the Mustang regulars played, although with the exception of Anthony Cammon, no one performed particularly well. Much more of a challenge was stopping the Sea Lions shooters which didn’t turn out to be one as the hosts drained 65% (13-20) of their shots in the first half and 59% for the game. They didn’t even average a shot a minute, attempting just 39 and making 23.
The Mustangs started fairly well, using a Devin Dyer three-pointer and three free throws by Anthony Cammon to forge a 6-2 advantage. But, that lead dissolved in a 9-2 Sea Lion blitz over a 4½-minute stretch, giving the hosts an 11-8 lead. Answering quickly, Dyer buried another three-ball and Anthony Wells tossed in a jumper to put the Mustangs back ahead 13-11.
The clubs went back and forth over the next couple of minutes until a modest 5-0 spurt by the Sea Lions put them ahead to stay. But, that was just a set-up for something much larger, a game-changing 14-2 run in a 4:34 window that gave the hosts a 33-19 advantage en route to a 12-point cushion (33-21) at the break.
Both squads attempted 20 shots from the field in the opening period with the Sea Lions converting 13 while the Mustangs hit just seven.
With the exception of three straight Mustang points to start the second half, the second half belonged to the Sea Lions. Following a free throw from Karlberg and a jumper by Cammon, things went downhill quickly for the Mustangs as the Sea Lions blitzed them 22-6 in an 11-minute span, turning a relatively competitive game into a runaway.
When the smoke from the assault had lifted, the Mustangs found themselves down 55-30 with 6:46 left to play. The Sea Lion advantage reached a game-high 26 points (59-33) with just over three minutes left before the Mustangs put together their best stretch of play in the closing minutes. Cammon was responsible for most of that, tallying nine of his game-high 20 points in the last 2:34 of play.
Down to their final two games of the regular season, the Mustangs still have a chance to wind up in the top four but they must first beat Azusa Pacific which invades Bross Gym Tuesday evening. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm.