Fueled by seven three-pointers from Derrick Fain, The Master’s College closed out 2012 with a 77-67 victory over Bethesda in a New Year’s Eve matinee Monday afternoon in Bross Gym.
The victory was the Mustangs’ sixth in a row and kept them undefeated (9-0) at home while improving to 11-3.
Against an outmanned, yet talented, Flame squad (only six players), Fain (Dallas, TX) started quickly, draining the first of his treys with 18:51 left in the first half, capping off a game-starting 5-0 run by the Mustangs. However, as the Mustangs were soon to discover over the next 39 minutes, the Flames weren’t about to be put out so quickly as they ripped off a 9-3 burst to take a one-point lead at the 16:09 mark.
That slightest of leads lasted only 22 seconds, though, as a Fain layup reclaimed the lead for the Mustangs and triggered an 11-2 spurt that the sophomore guard contributed seven points to, including another three-pointer, as the Mustangs moved ahead 19-11 with 11:52 left in the stanza.
But, the pesky Flames answered in similar fashion, reeling off nine straight points in a 3:21 span to go back up 20-19 at the 8:02 mark. A Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) layup stopped the streaking Flames and set up a back-and-forth pattern that featured a couple of lead changes and ties before Fain took over again, pouring in consecutive three-pointers, his fourth and fifth of the half, to put the Mustangs in front 30-27. A Patureau dunk punctuated a closing 5-0 spurt by the Mustangs that sent them to the half up 32-27.
Over the opening 20 minutes, the Mustangs were outshot 57%-44% by the Flames but six three-pointers (6-14) made up for that deficiency. Fain went 5-6 from behind the arc and led all scorers at the break with 19 points.
In the first four minutes of the second half, the Flames took a cue from the three-point shooting of the Mustangs, draining a pair of their own as part of a 9-2 run that turned a five-point deficit into a two-point lead (36-34), with 15:45 left to play.
However, Fain stopped the skein with his sixth trifecta and then sandwiched his final trey of the evening around a Patureau three-pointer for a 43-40 advantage at the 14:15 mark. Still, the Mustangs couldn’t put away the Flames, who raged back to take a 48-47 lead on a Ralph Monday three-ball with 11:25 left to play.
That was answered in identical fashion by Leif Karlberg (Anchorage, AK) who knows a little bit about making three-pointers. The second-best three-point shooter in school history poured in the first of his four second-half treys to key a quick, 6-0 run that gave the Mustangs a 53-48 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Back came the Flames one more time, however. Alan Marsh’s basket fueled an 8-3 burst that Monday finished off with a resounding dunk, knotting the contest at 56-all with 6:59 left to play.
Fittingly, though, the Mustangs went ahead for good on what else, a three-pointer, this one off the hands of Leif Karlberg at the 5:58 mark, fueling a decisive 8-0 run that he capped off with his final three-pointer for a 64-56 lead with 5:03 remaining.
But, the Mustangs weren’t in the clear just yet. Back-to-back three-pointers drew the Flames to within 64-62 less than a minute later, making a partisan crowd and a bunch of Mustangs nervous.
Patureau and Devin Dyer (Temecula, CA) quieted those nerves, though, combining for the club’s next eight points that extended the Mustang advantage to 72-63 with 1:05 left. Patureau hit his second trey of the game and Dyer took care of the rest, nailing his only trifecta and adding a pair of free throws.
It was at the line, too, where the Mustangs iced the win. With Dyer’s two charity tosses included, the Mustangs tallied five of their final seven points of the game from the stripe. Paul Brown (Kingston, Jamaica) put an exclamation point on the victory, giving the Mustangs their largest lead of the evening with a dunk in the final seconds.
On an evening when the Mustangs drained 15 (15-30) three-pointers, the second-best, single-game total in school history, Fain led the way, going 7-10 from behind the arc on the way to a season-high 28 points. He also had time to yank down a team-best seven rebounds.
Karlberg added 17 more, including a 5-9 showing from long range, while Patureau and Dyer added 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The Mustangs get to celebrate the New Year with this win but they’ll get back to work shortly thereafter in preparation for Saturday’s big game against No. 15 Cal State San Marcos. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm in Bross Gym.