What a difference healthy bodies make. After being decimated with the flu in the last two games, The Master’s University’s men’s basketball team got healthy in a big way defeating Westmont 71-60 Wednesday night Nov. 30 in The MacArthur Center.
The Mustangs held the nation’s No. 1 shooting team (56.5% from the field) to under 33%, and were even better from 3-point range. Westmont came into the game shooting 48% from behind the arc, but TMU held them to just 5-of-24 (21%).
“At the end of the day it was all about the defensive end,” said Head Coach Kelvin Starr. “I think our guys were locked in all week and they are starting to figure out how to prepare for games.”
As a team the Mustangs shot 27-of-52 (52%) to control the game. TMU took a 37-21 halftime lead and expanded it by as much as 16 with 5:03 to play. Not only did the team shoot well and defend even better, but they controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Warriors 45-30.
“In the second half we did a really good job of cleaning up the glass,” Starr said. “We talked about that at the half. We had to get every rebound and keep them from getting second chance points. (Westmont) only had three offensive rebounds in the second half.”
Kaleb Lowery led the team with his eighth double-double in nine games, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan Caruso had 19 points and eight boards, but it might have been the spark provided by Miles Mendes getting his first start and pulling down a season-high seven rebounds to go with six points that was the difference.
“Miles impacted the game on both ends of the floor,” Starr said. “I think the best thing for Miles is he has really bought into his role, and as a result he is seeing the fruits of his labor. His athleticism is incredible and he really showed how he can impact the game. Each guy has to see his role, and we are starting to see the good that comes from it. That’s what becoming a team is all about.”
This was Westmont’s last game in The MacArthur Center as a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference. Beginning in 2023, Westmont is moving on to NCAA Division 2.
The Master’s will be on the road for their next two games. First in San Dimas to take on Life Pacific on Thursday, Dec. 8, and then Hope International in Fullerton on Dec. 10. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.
“This was a big win,” Starr said. “We needed it. Now we are looking forward to building on it.”
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