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Posted: February 27, 2008 11:16 a.m.
Updated: April 29, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Josh Herman (4) of The Master's Colleges drives the basket as Mike Caffese (25) of Azusa Pacific defends. Herman scored a game-high 20 points, but the Mustangs lost at home 72-64 at home on Tuesday night.

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The Master's College men's basketball team has knocked off its fair share of ranked opponents this season, particularly in Golden State Athletic Conference play.

But on Tuesday night at home, the Mustangs ran into No. 22 Azusa Pacific and Division I transfers Dave Burgess (Gonzaga) and Davon Roberts (Sacramento State), who proved too much to handle inside.

The Cougars (20-8, 13-5) defeated TMC at Bross Gym 72-64 behind Roberts' 17 points and nine rebounds and Burgess' 14-point, 15-rebound effort.

"It's all rebounding. All the rest of the numbers are the same," said Mustangs head coach Chuck Martin. "There was no significant difference in any other stat."

Azusa Pacific's work on the glass nullified a game-high 20-point performance by TMC's Josh Herman.

The combination of Burgess' and Roberts' 24 rebounds nearly bested the entire TMC squad, which finished with 28 boards. Azusa Pacific notched 42 rebounds on the night.

After being down 27-22 at halftime, the Mustangs (15-13, 9-9) pulled to within one point on four separate occasions in the final half, but each time the Cougars came up with a basket in response on the other end.

Jeremy Haggerty cut the deficit to 37-36 with 13:11 to go on a dunk where he drove from the end of one baseline to get to the basket. As a result, the Cougars called a timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Burgess' putback stopped the momentum for TMC.

A 3-point play by Ryan Zamroz left TMC trailing 42-41 and this time it was Roberts who answered with a basket on the next trip down the floor.

With 10:36 left, Herman hit a basket to pull the Mustangs to within one again at 44-43.

"It was maybe his best game of the year," said Martin of Herman's performance. "He was great tonight."

But again, the Cougars responded. David Stafford drained a 3-pointer.

Azusa Pacific was able to pull away on a small but harmful 5-0 run that gave it a 59-50 lead with 4:05 to go.

In the first half, both teams had a tough time connecting.

The Cougars shot 37.9 percent (11-for-29), while the Mustangs really struggled, converting just 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from the floor.

Both teams shot over 50 percent in the second half, but Martin wasn't concerned with shooting percentages after the game.

"At the end of the day, if you can't get a rebound you aren't going to win," Martin said. "The game begins and ends with rebounding."

The loss dropped the Mustangs to .500 in GSAC play.

They are vying for one of the eight spots in the conference tournament with two games to go. Martin said the team can finish as low as ninth but as high as fifth. They play their final two games on the road at San Diego Christian and Westmont, two teams below TMC in the standings.

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