TMU men’s basketball puts on a show in win over Bethesda

Brock Gardner (25) jumps up to score the ball during a home game as Khalfani Williams (21) of Bethesda University tries to defend the ball on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Anyone looking to scout The Master’s University men’s basketball team Tuesday night was likely left disgruntled and with one question:

Where do we attack this team?

The Mustangs put on an all-around show at Bross Court, defeating Bethesda for the second time this season, 113-50.

“It was a game we were meant to win but we did it the right way,” said Mustangs coach Kelvin Starr.

It took Bethesda (3-5) a little over seven minutes to score its first points of the night, with the Mustangs already out to a 20-0 lead.

By halftime, the Mustangs (3-1) led 57-21 and held an 18-to-2 advantage on points in the paint and were shooting over 40 percent from the field. They tied a school record by making 21 3-pointers —needing just 41 attempts — and out-rebounded Bethesda 53-29.

TMU steered clear of isolation play despite the array of 3-pointers, assisting on 31 of 39 field goals.

“Sometimes in games like this guys get a bit selfish but we didn’t have any of that tonight,” Starr said. “We did things the right way and didn’t get away from the process.”

Liberty transfer Brock Gardner impressed early by crashing the center of the lane for a one-handed slam, giving the Mustangs their 20-0 lead. Gardner, who comes in at 6-foot-7, had a team-high 24 points while shooting 8 of 9 from the field and 5 of 5 from behind the arc, and grabbing eight rebounds.

“Sometimes you have those nights where the rim just looks like an ocean,” Gardner said. “We were all just sharing the ball really well.”

The Mustangs flashed a blend of height and athleticism that Bethesda simply had no answer for. They had already beaten the Flames, 90-60, to open the season.

Freshman Mike Taylor was the Mustangs’ biggest threat above the rim, throwing down two dunks in the first half that had the Bross Court crowd as loud as it was all night.  Taylor finished with 12 points.

“Way more athletic team this year,” Starr said. “We miss guys like Reid (Shackelford), but across the board, we’re much more athletic.”

With new faces like Taylor and Gardner making immediate impacts, the Mustangs had a familiar face running the offense in Lawrence Russell. The senior logged a team-high 10 rebounds to go with seven assists and 11 points.

“The new guys our making my life easier,” Russell said, “I know if I throw it up to them or hit them in the lane they’re going to finish it.”

Fresno State transfer Darryl McDowell-White didn’t start the contest but finished with a team-high eight assists.

“Most Division 1 transfers expect to be ‘the guy’ but (McDowell-White and Gardner) have come off the bench,” Starr said. “They have no attitude and they’re just doing their job.”

TMU hosts Antelope Valley at 8 p.m. on Friday at Bross Court.

Lawrence Russell (2) of The Master’s University jumps for a lay up during a home match against Bethesda University on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

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