Playing a team from Canada for the second time in three days, The Master’s University men’s basketball team finished 2018 hosting the University of Calgary at The MacArthur Center on Monday.
Delewis Johnson got the scoring going for the Mustangs, hitting a 3-pointer to begin the game. Johnson finished second on the team in scoring with 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
“I was just trying to be aggressive because we got off to a slow start,” Johnson said. “Me and Hansel Atencia are really good at creating so we were just being aggressive.”
Trailing 37-36 at intermission, the Mustangs were able to hold the Dinos to 36.8 percent shooting from the field while shooting 50 percent themselves in the second half coming back to finish the year in style, winning 75-68.
In the first half, Calgary was able to get in the paint at will scoring 28 of their 37 points in the paint. Six-foot-8 forward Brett Layton finished the half with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, making the majority of his buckets from about 2-3 feet away from the basket.
TMU (12-2 overall, 2-1 GSAC) countered with their 6-foot-10 center junior Tim Soares making timely jumpers on the perimeter and easy layups with his superb footwork around the basket.
“Tim is just a load,” said TMU head coach Kelvin Starr. “He is a defensive presence and he ran the court well today.”
Soares finished the game just missing out on a double-double with 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Down 43-36 to open up the second half, a Soares dunk and a Darryl McDowell-White corner 3 cut the lead to four points.
Calgary answered with a reverse layup by Layton, but Johnson returned the favor hitting a 3-pointer to swing the momentum in the Mustangs’ favor.
With the game tied at 52-52, freshman guard Jordan Starr hit his first bucket of the game on a 3-pointer, igniting the Mustangs as they went on a 15-2 run with under 10 minutes to go in the game.
“I’ve had a lot of growth just learning to get better and more mature, especially mentally because that’s the biggest part of the game,” Jordan Starr said. “Playing for my dad has been an awesome experience, I’m really enjoying it.”
Starr ended the game 2-for-4 with two 3-pointers down the stretch to finish with seven points and six rebounds off the bench.
Calgary was able to climb back in the game, cutting the lead to 69-66 with 28.7 seconds left in the game, but thanks to Atencia, the Mustangs were able to knock down six free throws to down the in the closing seconds to hand the Dinos their second loss of the season in as many games.
“Hansel is very, very skilled,” Kelvin Starr said. “Late in the game, he is so valuable because you can’t stop him and he makes free throws.”
The All-American finished the game with a team-high 26 points (going 8-of-11 from the free-throw line), four rebounds and fives assists.
The Mustangs pick up play against William Jessup at 7:30 at the MacArthur Center on Thursday.
“This is a team that has won a couple of Division 1 games earlier in the year,” Kelvin Starr said. “They are a legit team. So for us going to conference, it’s perfect timing so we kind of get a confidence builder.”