It wasn’t that Travis Yenor couldn’t. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to. It just hadn’t, well, happened all that often.
But the Mustang forward felt loose during second-half warmups in what became a 106-64 win over Caltech on Saturday at Bross Court, and when Lawrence Russell slipped him a pass in transition, Yenor figured, why not?
So he took two steps, palmed the ball and slammed it with one hand — and a king’s share of authority — his mouth agape as ran back down court.
“The coolest part was looking at the bench and seeing how happy the guys were,” said Yenor who finished with seven points and five rebounds. “To see them so happy made it 10 times better than it actually was.”
Yenor said Master’s coach Kelvin Starr tabbed Saturday’s contest a “get-well game” after a stunning road loss to unranked University of Antelope Valley on Friday. Plays like Yenor’s dunk helped facilitate the healing.
“I think that happened today,” Yenor said. “We just got well.”
The NAIA No. 5 Mustangs’ first loss of the year didn’t sit well in the locker-room, but players had to wait less than 24 hours for another go at it.
Five Master’s players scored in double figures. The team dished out 27 assists. And an active defense snagged 11 steals in a game Master’s led 64-27 at halftime.
Keegan Scott led all Mustangs with 15 points. He made 5-of-10 three-point attempts. Russell, Hansel Atencia, Tim Soares and Delewis Johnson each scored 12 as the team shot 62% in the first half and 56 for the game.
Reserve Nick Swenning capped the night’s highlights with a breakaway dunk. It left the bench giddy again one night after Antelope Valley hung on for an 87-84 win.
“I think they came together a little bit,” Starr said of the loss’s impact. “They were upset with themselves. They knew it shouldn’t have happened, and they were ready to grow and learn. “… I think in the long haul we’re going to look back and, not be thankful for it, ever, but you’ve got to use a loss and get better.”
Here’s the box score.