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Today in
S.C.V. History
April 18
1945 - Actors Harry & Olive Carey sell Saugus ranch after 29 years; now Tesoro del Valle [story]
Carey Ranch

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Battling back from a 12-point deficit, The Master’s University basketball team had the lead late but could not hold it, losing to the No. 1 seed Freed-Hardeman 68-69 in the Round of 16 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Men’s Basketball National Championship.

With 19.1 seconds to play and trailing by one, the Mustangs had the ball and called a timeout. They got the ball into Kamron Oriol’s hands, who drove to the basket with six seconds to play, but his shot was blocked and the Lions collected the rebound, effectively ending the game.

TMU never had a lead until 5:26 to play in the game when a Caden Starr tip-in put the Mustangs up 63-61. At one point in the first half, FHU led by 12 points, with The Master’s battling close only to have the lead open up again.

“Shaky start for us. It looked like we were a little nervous, bobbled some balls. Just didn’t look like the way our team was all year,” said TMU head coach Kelvin Starr. “I thought we did an incredible job in the second half of playing better and we had open shots down the stretch. We just didn’t make them. I should have probably had us pound the ball inside a little more and been more intentional about that down the stretch. That’s on me.”

Shooting was an issue for both teams, with the Mustangs hitting 21 of 65 (32%), including 6 of 24 (25%) from 3-point range. But TMU’s defense held the Lions to just 21 of 64 (33%) and 5 of 18 (28%) from long range.

Ty Harper led the Mustangs with 21 points, with both Kaleb Lowery and Oriol finishing with 14. Miles Mendes pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.

“Overall, I’m proud of the fact that we competed and we were the better team in the second half,” Starr said. “And that’s a very good team we played. They know what they’re doing. But I think we had them on the ropes there and just came up short.”

The Master’s was trying to get to the men’s basketball quarterfinals for the first time since 2000.

Jordan Caruso, in his final game, finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.

“It was hard finishing with a close game like that,” Caruso said. “But looking back on the season and being in the locker room, I was just so grateful to be a part of this team. On and off the court, I’ve got a lot of brothers for life now. And this coaching staff made me grow as a man in ways that other programs haven’t done for me. So I’m forever grateful for that and it’s going to really help me going on in life. I’ll remember these guys forever.”

In looking back on the season, Starr said it was a good year with a lot of accomplishments.

“We’re happy to have won the GSAC championship and we’re happy to be a regional champion and make the sweet 16,” he said. “That’s all good. But the locker room definitely felt like we left something out there [on the court in Kansas City]. There’s a feeling of emptiness there a little bit. But I do want to say about our season is that I saw growth. In particular I saw a commitment to our core value of being selfless. And our ultimate goal is to represent Christ when we play. When we call ourselves Christians and men of God, we want to do that as best we can. We do that through how hard we work, we do that through reflecting team and family and selfless behavior. So for us, we showed tremendous growth and I’m proud of the guys for doing that. It’s a really close group because of that and I think achieved a lot because of it.”

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