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TMC earning respect

Mustangs now ranked No. 20 after win over No. 4 Concordia

Posted: January 8, 2009 9:49 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 

They keep doing it.

The Master's College men's basketball team, mired in mediocrityville in recent seasons, is digging itself out.

The Mustangs' 91-86 overtime victory over NAIA No. 4 Concordia Tuesday night on the road is the fourth weighty win of the season.

The win over Concordia bumped the Mustangs up eight spots to No. 20 in the NAIA's national rankings.

TMC (11-3, 3-1) has accumulated wins over then-No. 11 ranked Azusa Pacific and NCAA Division II teams Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal Poly Pomona this season.

"It was a big win and one that was significant," said TMC head coach Chuck Martin.

This is the best start for Martin's Mustangs in his three years at the helm of the men's program.

"We really did play well," Martin added. "You have to against a team with that caliber."

But the Mustangs' schedule is not getting any easier.

The team will host Westmont on Saturday. Both TMC and Westmont are currently tied for second place in conference.

Martin said that the team's chemistry has played a significant role in the Mustangs' success.

Along with team camaraderie, a deeper corps of offensive weapons has catapulted TMC among the conference elite.

The Mustangs are shooting 52 percent from the field and averaging 82.5 points per game.

Senior guard Ryan Zamroz leads the offensive attack averaging 17.9 points per game. Eight Mustagns averaging at least five points per game.

"We're more consistent night in and night out," Martin said. "We've become a pretty good basketball team at this point. Offensively we've been good all year. It says a lot to put up 91 points against a team known for defense."

But the team's talent doesn't just lie in the hands of the starting five.

The Mustangs' bench has been a considerable factor in producing results as well.

"We've had quality minutes off the bench from (Thomas) Millar and (Drew) Menez," Martin said. "The good thing about this team is you never know who's going to make a big contribution."

The Mustangs' bread and butter all year has been it's 3-point shooting. TMC is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in 3-point field goal percentage.

However, early on, the team showed weakness in its defense. Martin emphasized the team's Achilles' heel in practices and it has paid off.

"The big wins have been because of the defense," Martin said.

But despite a five-game winning streak and victories over formidable opponents, Martin said it's still too early to talk about the NAIA Tournament.

"Some team's act like they're good and some teams just are good," he said. "We're not at a point yet where we can gain a legitimate amount of confidence."

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