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College basketball: Onto Indiana

TMC advances in NCCAA tourney

Posted: March 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 9, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Master’s College’s Casey Trujeque (3) attempts a shot as Hope International’s Austin Sanford defends on Thursday at Bross Gym.

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At halftime of its National Christian College Athletic Association West Regional final with Hope International on Thursday night at Bross Gym, The Master’s College basketball team knew there would be no tomorrow if it didn’t start hitting its shots and improving its defending.

The Mustangs were outrebounded considerably and outshot in the first half, but the second half saw a completely different performance, and the Mustangs rallied to win 60-56 and move on the NCCAA National Championship tournament in Winona Lake, Indiana on Wednesday.

The Master’s (19-14) was outrebounded 27-13 in the first half, and the Royals (11-16) shot 44.8 percent from the field to open up a 38-26 halftime lead.

“We’ve been in that situation a lot. This game was another (Golden State Athletic Conference game),” said TMC guard Leif Karlberg, referring to the conference that the Mustangs and Royals participate in. “We knew we could bring it back, and it was a matter of who wanted it more.”

And the Mustangs wasted no time proving they wanted the win.

The Master’s came out in the second half and went on a 16-2 run to turn the 12-point deficit into a 42-40 lead with under 14 minutes to play.

It was TMC’s first lead since scoring the opening basket of the ball game.

“I was relatively confident even when we got down,” said TMC head coach Chuck Martin. “The only thing you can control is how you’re playing. We know we’re a team that is dependent on the ball going in on the perimeter.”

The defense improved, as well, as the Mustangs held the Royals to just 23.3 percent shooting in the second half.

The Mustangs scored 16 points off 14 turnovers and, more surprising given their early struggles inside, matched the Royals with 24 points in the paint.

Karlberg spurred the Mustangs’ comeback with 21 points and eight rebounds.

Anthony Cammon chipped in 13 points and six assists.

Jeremy Kilgore led Hope International with 19 points, while Steve Jurich scored 13 points and dominated in the post with a game-high 20 rebounds.

Jordan Gipson and Kris Rosales added 10 points for the Royals, and Austin Sanford pulled down 10 rebounds.

Now the Mustangs will travel to Indiana where they will try to replicate Thursday’s performance when they compete for the national title in an eight-team tournament.

Can the Mustangs win in Indiana if they play like they did Thursday?

“There’s no question,” Martin said. “We’re not going to see any teams that are any better than the top of the GSAC.”


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