header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Failure notice from provider:
Location does not exist.
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 27
1950 - Ex-Mrs. William S. Hart appears in court to challenge will that leaves Hart Park & Mansion to L.A. County [story]
Winifred Westover

| Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

By Mason Nesbitt, Sports Information Director

KANSAS CITY, MO – It wasn’t for lack of talent. It was just reality.

The Master’s University men’s basketball team jelled exceptionally well in 2016-17 despite featuring eight new players, a first-year coach and freshmen in key roles. But junior wing Delewis Johnson said the team knew it was overachieving when it won 27 games and advanced to its first NAIA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship tournament since 2000.

Now, back in Kansas City, Missouri, and entering the national tournament’s first round Wednesday as the No. 1 overall seed, Johnson says the Mustangs know what they’re capable of.

“We’re on a mission to get the championship,” said Johnson, whose team plays No. 8-seed Peru State (Neb.) at 6:15 p.m. PST inside Municipal Auditorium. “We’re not going in feeling arrogant, but we’re confident in what we’re about.”

Since earning the first NAIA No. 1 ranking in school history in mid-February, the Mustangs (29-2) have hardly missed a beat, winning the first regular season Golden State Athletic Conference championship in program history and their second straight conference tourney title.

Master’s brings the nation’s fourth-highest scoring offense (92.8ppg) and 22nd stingiest defense (72.3ppg) into its ninth NAIA national tournament appearance.

The Mustangs regularly made the trip to nationals in the mid to late 1990s. But it’d been a 16-year hiatus before last year’s eye-popping turnaround.

Master’s won four games in 2015-16. But with the addition of Kelvin Starr as head coach and several high-level recruits and transfers, the team won 27 games and advanced to the second round of last year’s national tournament.

Expectations rose. And Master’s met them, reeling off a school-record 25 wins between November and mid-February and outscoring opponents by better than 20 points a game.

Starr, though, has stressed all year that Master’s must hang its hat on defense, and the team has largely bought in, deploying a deep, athletic lineup willing to defend with intensity.

Center Tim Soares, who ranks third nationally in blocked shots, earned GSAC Defense Player of the Year, the second straight time a Mustang won the award. Last year’s recipient, Lawrence Russell was named conference Player of the Year this season after averaging a team-high 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

Both players will be key to a defense with its hands full. Peru State (21-13) ranked 15th in the nation in points per game (85.8) behind the play of two explosive guards.

Quantice Hunter, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, is fourth nationally in scoring (22.2ppg). James Westbrook, a 6-4 senior guard, averages 17.8 points and is second in the country in assists with nearly six per game.

Starr’s strategy is simple. But it won’t be easy to execute.

“The key is staying in front of them,” he said.

Peru State has also proven to be something of a giant slayer. The Bobcats knocked off highly-touted William Penn (Iowa) twice this season and as recently as this month. Not that Starr needed a reminder that eight seeds are dangerous in this tournament.

“Any team in this tournament is good enough to beat you,” Starr said.

As for the rest-versus-rust debate, a question in play because the Mustangs will have had eight days off since beating Westmont College in the GSAC tournament title game, Starr said he favors the rest.

He said he believes this group is mature enough to stay locked in and intense without game action.

Russell agreed.

“We play well when we’re rested,” the senior wing said. “I don’t think we get rusty. … We always stay fine-tuned.”

Last year, the Mustangs had an extra day off, playing on the national tournament’s second day, when they beat Benedictine of Kansas in the first round before losing to eventual-champion Texas Wesleyan by two points in the second round one day later.

Now, TMU wouldn’t play again until Friday. Either way, Russell believes the Mustangs are more prepared.

“(Last year) was everyone’s first time going, and we didn’t know what to expect,” Russell said. “… We remember how it felt last year when we lost. I think that factors in this year: We don’t want to feel that way again.”

The first 30 games of the national championship will be video-streamed live at www.NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA’s official video-streaming platform powered by Stretch Internet. There is a fee.

The championship final will air on ESPN3 for the fifth-straight season on March 20.

Comment On This Story
Thursday, Feb 25, 2021
Hannah Cumming is exactly the type of player Master's women's soccer head coach Curtis Lewis appreciates.
Thursday, Feb 25, 2021
Youth and adult sports leagues can resume outdoors in Los Angeles County, after the county’s Department of Public Health announced Wednesday the agency is aligning its protocols with the state’s.
Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021
California State University, Northridge head tennis coach Gary Victor has announced the 2021 Matadors’ women's tennis schedule.
Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021
It was a day of firsts for The Master's University women's soccer team on Monday in a 2-1 victory over William Jessup University in Rocklin.
Monday, Feb 8, 2021
Former College of the Canyons defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, who played with the Cougars in 2007, is now a two-time Super Bowl Champion after helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs by a 31-9 score on Sunday at Super Bowl LV.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1950 - Ex-Mrs. William S. Hart appears in court to challenge will that leaves Hart Park & Mansion to L.A. County [story]
Winifred Westover
The Sand Canyon Resort project is scheduled to return before Santa Clarita Planning Commissions Tuesday with a series of revisions, following multiple concerns raised by both commissioners and residents.
Sand Canyon Resort Project to Return Before Planning Commissioners with Revisions
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 144 new deaths and 1,838 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 26,045 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 26,045; Nearly 2 Million Doses Administered in County
The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles announced on Feb. 26 that Kenya Yarbrough will lead its newly-created and first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, Access, and Advocacy Initiative.
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Launches First-Ever Diversity and Advocacy Department
The Valley Industry Association will welcome College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook as the keynote speaker for the March VIA Virtual Series taking place Tuesday, March 16, from 11:00 a.m to 12:15 p.m.
March 16: VIA Virtual Series with Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook
The city of Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission will hold a regular meeting virtually Tuesday, March 2, at 6:00 p.m.
March 2: Planning Commission Virtual Regular Meeting
The Child and Family Center's Domestic Violence Program is set to host its fourth annual "Night of Expression" art exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 27, in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Feb. 27: Child and Family Center to Host Virtual Teen Dating Violence Awareness Art Exhibit
California Department of Public Health officials announced on Feb. 26 that California is on track to create the capacity to administer 3 million vaccinations per week by March 1.
State on Track to Reach Capacity Goal of 3 Million Vaccines Per Week, Pending Available Supply
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is set to host events and classes in March to celebrate National Nutrition Month.
Henry Mayo to Host Events, Classes for National Nutrition Month
The college district received the best rating possible in an independent audit of its general obligation bond expenditures.
Independent Audit Finds College District in Full Compliance
After being shuttered for almost a year due to pandemic restrictions, Mountasia Family Fun Center has been purchased by MB2 Group.
MB2 Group Purchases Mountasia Family Fun Center
The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced a new round of extensions for commercial driver’s licenses expiring through May 31 that will help commercial drivers focus on delivering essential products and supplies during the COVID-19 emergency.
DMV Extends Expiring Commercial Driver’s Licenses Through May
1923 - U.S. release of Charles Chaplin film "The Pilgrim," partially shot at Saugus Train Station & Newhall First Presbyterian Church [watch]
The Pilgrim
Fry's Electronics, the consumer electronics retailer, announced Wednesday that it is going out of business after nearly 36 years.
Fry’s Electronics Closing All Its Stores
The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) announced Thursday the upcoming launch of the Los Angeles Online Dispute Resolution (LA-ODR) program, in collaboration with the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County and its Dispute Resolution Program (DRP), and the Center for Conflict Resolution.
L.A. County Launches Program to Help Litigants Settle Cases Online
A former manager of the Valencia COVID-19 testing lab is being sued by the operator for breaching her contract after she accused the company of poor performance.
PerkinElmer Suing Whistleblower for Breach of Contract
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 132 new deaths and 2,072 new cases of COVID-19, with 25,990 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Nearing 26,000; L.A. County Reaches 100 MIS-C Cases in Children
Three hundred sixty-six feature films are eligible for the 2020 Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.
Academy Announces 366 Feature Films Eligible for 2020 Best Picture Oscar
Hannah Cumming is exactly the type of player Master's women's soccer head coach Curtis Lewis appreciates.
Hannah Cumming Signs with TMU
Santa Clarita City Council members declined Tuesday to administer $6.8 million in state rental assistance funds for eligible residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and let the state handle those dollars but approved creating a program for them with $6.3 million from the federal government.
Rental Aid Program Coming to Eligible Santa Clarita Residents Impacted by Pandemic
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee will hold a special meeting virtually Friday, Feb. 26, at 2:00 p.m. 
Feb. 26: City Council Legislative Committee Virtual Special Meeting
As Los Angelenos envision their future — whether it’s housing, parks or wellness — there is much they can learn from the past.
CSUN Collaborates with Tataviam, Indigenous Communities to Create Virtual, Ecological History Map
Flair Cleaners, Southern California’s leading eco-friendly dry cleaner, is hosting its 6th Annual Flair Cares Food Drive, Hang Up Hunger, through March 31
Annual Flair Cares Food Drive Underway
Youth and adult sports leagues can resume outdoors in Los Angeles County, after the county’s Department of Public Health announced Wednesday the agency is aligning its protocols with the state’s.
L.A. County Allows for Return of Outdoor Youth, Adult Sports
%d bloggers like this: