December 12, 2015
Rocklin, Calif. -- Just 48 hours after going wire-to-wire in a win over Menlo, The Master's College men's basketball team had the tables turned Saturday evening when William Jessup leapt ahead early and never looked back in a 71-62 win over the Mustangs.
The loss leveled the clubs' overall and GSAC records at 4-4 and 1-1, respectively.
Commenting on the defeat, second-year head coach Ken Sugarman said, "We had a tough, uphill battle tonight. We didn't have all our guys come into the game with an attacking mindset."
It showed early when the Warriors, sparked by two layups and a free throw, bolted to a 5-0 lead and then used a 9-0 run to expand the advantage to 16-4 with 13:37 left in the opening half. The Mustangs responded with a couple of layups, one by Delewis Johnson (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) and the other from Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA), to slice the deficit in half just over a minute later. When Dylan Dyer (Murrieta, CA) converted a layup with 10:30 remaining, the club had closed to 20-13.
However, back-to-back three-pointers and a layup by the Warriors took the margin (28-13) back into double figures and it stayed there for the next 16 minutes of play. Some of that was aided by Mustang miscues which the Warriors turned into 11 first-half points. The Warriors closed the half on a 7-0 skein and took a 41-20 lead into halftime.
Looking at the deficit, Sugarman commented, "You can't spot a team a 20-point lead and expect to come out victorious at the end."
In complete contrast to Thursday's sparkling 63% first-half performance against Menlo, the Mustangs managed just 25% (7-28) from the field while the Warriors converted at a 56% clip.
Those numbers would flip in the second half but it wouldn't be enough.
The Warriors showed no let-up during the first five minutes of the second half, building a game-high 22-point (43-21) advantage with 18:32 left to play and enjoying a 50-31 lead with over 15 minutes to go.
That's when the momentum changed and it did so on the back of a defense that held the Warriors scoreless for over four minutes while the offense methodically chipped away at the deficit.
It started and ended with J.P. Webster (Vallejo, CA), whose jumper at the 13:57 mark and three-pointer at 12:01 ignited and capped off a 10-0 burst that drew the Mustangs within 50-41.
The Warriors answered with a 6-2 skein that reclaimed a 13-point edge, however, the Mustangs were far from finished. Still down 59-46 with just over eight minutes left to play, the Mustangs had another run left in them and one that almost made them a winner.
Fueled by a Shackelford three-point play, the club scored twelve of the game's next 15 points to get within 62-58 at the 2:45 mark. During the skein, Keegan Scott (Spirit Lake, ID) scored on a lay-in, Shackelford drained a three, Philip Webb (Georgetown, Cayman Islands) hit another layup, and Johnson finished it off with a layup.
The Mustangs inched even closer when a Kaleb Anderson (Clovis, CA) tip-in made it a 63-60 game with 1:36 remaining. That, though, was the closest they would get as the Warriors retaliated in decisive fashion, tearing off six straight points in a 42-second window to assure the victory.
The second-half rally was keyed by improved marksmanship as the Mustangs hit nearly 52% (17-33) from the field over the final 20 minutes while holding the Warriors to a 32% mark. The Mustangs wound up shooting 39% for the game.
Although the Mustangs couldn't make it all the way back, Sugarman was thankful for his team's play in the second half, saying, "Our team responded well at halftime and showed great character to fight to the end. We will remember this game and learn from it.
For the second game in a row, Shackelford paced TMC in scoring, burying 20 points while Webster was the only other Mustang in double figures, posting a career-high 19 points.
The Mustangs return to Southern California and to the court on Monday evening when they host Cal Miramar in an exhibition at 7:00pm.