Christian Sweazie hit seven 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 24 points to lead The Master’s University men’s basketball team to an 89-78 GSAC win over Hope International in Fullerton Saturday.
Sweazie hit six of his 3’s in the first half, helping the Mustangs (9-3, 3-2 in GSAC) hold on to a 43-42 lead at the half. TMU’s defense stepped up in the second half, limiting the Royals to just 36 points in the final frame to get the 11-point win.
“We did a really good job defensively for the most part,” said The Master’s Head Coach Kelvin Starr. “It’s obviously a big win. I have so much respect for (Hope International Coach) Bill Czech. They are a perennial power in our conference, so to go into their house and win is a big accomplishment.”
The Master’s put together nearly identical halves offensively, shooting 17-of-33 (51%) in the first half and 16-of-31 (51%) in the second. Defensively the pressure increased in the second half against the Royals, primarily from behind the arc. HIU shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the first half, but that was limited to 2-of-11 in the final 20 minutes.
The Mustangs bench once again stepped up, out-scoring the Royals bench 26-10, with Kamrin Oriol making an early-season bid to be the GSAC sixth man of they year, if the award existed. Oriol finished with 11 points, one of three players scoring in double figures for The Master’s. Behind Sweazie’s 24, Jordan Caruso added 16 on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
Jordan and Caden Starr each added nine points, with Kaleb Lowery leading the team with nine rebounds to go with his eight points.
“I thought Deon (Earley) was phenomenal coming off the bench,”Starr said. “And Kaleb was a monster on the glass, particularly in the second half.”
This was the second game in a row the Mustangs were led by Sweazie, the graduate student finishing his collegiate career with The Master’s. His 24 points was the third time this season, and second in as many games, where he scored 20 or more points in a game.
TMU will now get a week off before they travel to St. George, Utah, next Saturday for an exhibition game against Utah Tech (formerly Dixie State). Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.