La Mirada, Calif. — Reid Shackelford scored a game-high 31 points and it still wasn’t enough as tenth-ranked Biola scored the game’s first six points and forged a 20-point lead in the first half en route to an 83-70 win over The Master’s College Tuesday evening.
Dropping their 13th game in a row, the Mustangs fell to 4-16 overall and 1-11 in the GSAC.
Playing like the GSAC’s first-place team, the Eagles came out shooting, draining their first three shots from behind the arc to take a 9-3 lead in the opening two minutes.
That set a tone Mustang coach Ken Sugarman acknowledged later, saying, “Biola hit some big threes early which knocked us on our heels.”
Using a back-breaking 11-0 run later in the half, Biola extended the advantage to 34-13 at the 7:08 mark. Meanwhile, Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) was doing everything he could to keep his club in the game, tallying all of the Mustang points before Phil Webb (Georgetown, Cayman Islands) joined him in the scorebook on a layup with 6:39 left in the opening half.
That seemed to breathe some life into the offense as the Mustangs closed the half on a 16-7 run that drew them within 41-29 at halftime.
Sugarman liked what he saw in his team before intermission, commenting, “We fought back well after being down early.”
Over the opening 20 minutes Shackelford poured in 17 points, nine of those coming on a trio of shots from behind the arc.
Coming out of the break, the Mustangs fell behind by 15 points on three occasions in the first half 1:20 of the second half. However, keyed by a Keegan Scott (Spirit Lake, ID) trey and a Kaleb Anderson (Clovis, CA) layup, the Mustangs ripped off five straight points to get within 48-38 with less than 18 minutes to play.
Sensing the Mustangs within striking distance, the Eagles answered in decisive fashion. Tearing off 11 straight points and holding the Mustangs scoreless for nearly four minutes, the hosts extended their advantage to 59-38 at the 14:49 mark.
The Mustangs never got closer than the final margin although they displayed a lot of life down the stretch after trailing by as many as 25 points (69-44). An 8-0 burst, featuring three-pointers from Shackelford and Harrison White (Winston-Salem, NC) wrapped around a White layup, trimmed the deficit to 69-52 with 7:44 left to play.
After the Eagles restored order with six straight points and reclaimed a 20-point lead (79-59), the Mustangs closed the contest with a rush, scoring the final seven points. Shackelford sparked the mini-burst with his seventh and final three-pointer of the evening, and Delewis Johnson (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) closed out the scoring with four straight points.
Just missing his career high by one point (32 vs. Menlo on December 10, 2015), Shackelford buried a personal-high seven three-pointers, going 7-14 from behind the arc.
Johnson was the only other Mustang in double figures, finishing with 10 points. Webb chipped in with seven more points and pulled down a game-high-tying eight rebounds. Hans Karlberg (Anchorage, AK) came off the bench to score six points.
Enjoying Karlberg’s play, Sugarman said, “I thought he was a real spark off the bench with his hustle and offensive rebounding (three offensive boards).”
After losing to the nation’s 10th-ranked squad, it won’t get any easier for the Mustangs in their quest to stop their losing skid as they host No. 8 Hope International Saturday in a game that starts at 7:30pm on Bross Court.