Most coaches and fans would be happy with a trio of their players combining for 55 points in a game, thinking that the rest of the team would complement them with enough to win.
The former was true Thursday evening but the rest didn’t come through as The Master’s College fell to Biola 75-67 in a first-round, GSAC Tournament game in La Mirada. The loss was the Mustangs’ eighth in their past nine contests, leaving them with a 17-14 record.
The terrific trio of Devin Dyer, Anthony Cammon, and Leif Karlberg gave an early preview of their prolific evening, combining for the team’s first eight points as the Mustangs bolted to an 8-3 lead. Cammon led the way with a pair of three-pointers.
But, the 19th-ranked and third-seeded Eagles responded with five quick points to knot the game and the teams traded baskets before the hosts created some separation with a decisive run. Up 16-14 with just under 12 minutes left in the first half, the Eagles outscored the Mustangs 14-2 in a 4:41 span to go up by 14 points with 6:31 left.
The Mustangs never fully recovered but they didn’t disappear either as evidenced by an 8-0 burst prior to halftime that brought them back into the game. Sparked by consecutive three-pointers from Dyer and Karlberg, and a layup by Cammon, the Mustangs reeled off eight straight points to close to 37-32. The Eagles added the half’s final bucket and went to the break ahead 39-32.
Paced by Dyer’s 6-7 shooting and 14 points, the Mustangs converted a respectable 46% from the field during the first 20 minutes while the Eagles shot at a 52% clip.
Those percentages came down in the second half but the Mustangs were never able to slice the deficit any closer than five points and that came with just over three minutes left in the game.
Meanwhile, the Eagles enjoyed a 12-point cushion (52-40) at the 13:38 mark and held advantages ranging from that score all the way down to 67-62. Each time the Mustangs would get within shouting distance, the Eagles would respond.
After closing to 42-36 early in the second half, the Mustangs watched the Eagles fly away on a 10-4 spurt. A while later when the Mustangs had carved the gap to that five-point margin, the Eagles answered with four straight points to put the game away.
The Eagles’ might in the paint proved to be too much as they outscored the Mustangs 32-24 in that area, including an 18-9 edge on second chances created by a 40-26 advantage on the boards.
Dyer led the Mustangs with 23 points, going 10-16 from the field. Cammon tossed in 20 more and Karlberg finished with a dozen.
Although the loss ended the Mustangs’ pursuit of a GSAC title and an invitation to the NAIA National Tournament, their season is not yet done. They will now set their sights on the NCCAA National Tournament with a West Regional game against Corban of Oregon next Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 7:30pm in Bross Gym.