Powered by 50 points in the paint, No. 8 Concordia pounded its way past The Master’s College Tuesday evening, edging the Mustangs 68-63 in a riveting GSAC game.
The defeat dropped the Mustangs to 1-2 in conference play and 13-5 overall.
Hoping to build on their thrilling overtime victory over 7th-ranked Arizona Christian Saturday evening, the Mustangs were looking to take down another Top Ten team, one that won the GSAC’s postseason tournament last year and is a perennial national championship contender.
They were up to the task early on, bolting to a 6-2 lead in the game’s first two minutes and leading 8-5 on a Derek Walters’ (Fresno, CA) basket with 16:36 left in the first half before a quick 5-0 burst put the Eagles back in front. However, a Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) three-pointer reclaimed the lead for the Mustangs at 11-10 before the hosts used an 8-0 run to create the game’s first significant separation (18-11) at the 12:28 mark.
The Eagles enjoyed a pair of similar leads over the next two minutes and clung to their advantage until the Mustangs tore off six consecutive points in a two-minute window to knot the game at 27 with 3:52 remaining in the stanza. Junior center Korey Anderson (Clovis, CA) ignited the run with a layup, Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) duplicated that, and Zach Stalin (Bellingham, CA) capped it off with a pair of game-tying free throws.
The Eagles regained the lead a minute later and boosted the advantage to as many as six points (33-27) before settling for a 33-29 lead at the break.
The Mustangs, led by Dominique Lanier’s (Lakewood, CA) eight points, made the most of just 18 shots over the opening 20 minutes, hitting eight of those, and went 12-15 from the line in the first half. Meanwhile, the Eagles went 13-31 (42%) from the field, taking advantage of seven Mustang turnovers to hoist 13 more shots.
Using an Anderson lahyup and two Bernard Ireland (Victorville, CA) free throws in the first minute of the second half, the Mustangs quickly tied the game at 33, setting up a toe-to-toe battle the rest of the way.
Over the next seven minutes, neither team led by more than three points with the Mustangs taking a 40-37 advantage on an Ireland three-point play at the 15:32 mark. The Eagles answered with five straight points to reclaim the lead for good, although the Mustangs stayed within striking distance inside the game’s final minute.
Along the way, the Eagles manufactured a couple of six-point advantages only to watch the Mustangs inch closer. They went up 52-46 with just under 10 minutes remaining before a Patureau layup and two Lanier free throws pulled the Mustangs within two.
They got as close as 54-53 on a Britton Doerbecker (Northridge, CA) charity toss with 7:25 left but just couldn’t catch the Eagles. In the game’s final six minutes, they drew within a basket five times, the final one coming with 1:58 left on the clock when Anderson’s layup made it 64-62.
Lanier, who had a sparkling second half with 14 points, missed a potential game-tying basket with just over a minute left and the Eagles made the Mustangs pay on their next possession, doubling their advantage on a Kiefer Douse layup with 37 seconds remaining. The Mustangs had one more chance when Lanier missed the second of two free throws 12 seconds later, Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) snared the offensive rebound, and Lanier missed the game-tying, three-point attempt. The Eagles salted the game away with two free tosses.
Lanier tied a career-best with a game-high 22 points, highlighted by a 12-13 showing from the free throw line. Anderson was the only other Mustang in double figures with 12 points. Ireland tossed in nine points and Patureau had a half dozen more to go with a team-high seven rebounds.
Seeking to get back to .500 again in the GSAC, the Mustangs return home Saturday evening to host Biola in a 7:30pm start on Bross Court.