By Don Gilmore and Mason Nesbitt
For The Signal
This is not a misprint: Brock Gardner has scored 83 points in his last two games.
The Master’s University senior’s outburst has moved the No. 2-ranked Mustang men’s basketball team to 7-0 on the year and positioned Gardner on the cusp of a career milestone.
Gardner now has 998 points in his three-year Mustang career since transferring from Liberty University. This season, he’s elevated his game to another level. He leads the team with an average of 22.3 points per game.
Gardner can reach 1,000 career points Thursday night when Master’s plays No. 10 Arizona Christian in its Golden State Athletic Conference opener in Glendale.
The Mustangs hope Gardner stays on a roll.
“Brock was special tonight,” Mustang head coach Kelvin Starr said Friday after Master’s beat The College of Idaho, 86-76. “He took over the game.”
Gardner scored a career-high 40 points on Nov. 21 in a 121-62 win over SAGU American Indian.
Eight days later, he went three better, posting a new career-high 43 points as Master’s defeated The College of Idaho in a neutral game at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa.
The victory marked Starr’s 90th victory (90-14) at TMU.
The Mustangs trailed only once Friday (14-12), but a three-point play by Gardner with 10:03 left in the first half erased the deficit and fueled a 10-0 run in a 3:28 window.
Gardner scored the first eight points of that burst and finished the half with 18 as the Mustangs led at the break 35-28.
Gardner’s 7-of-14 mark from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc, in the opening stanza was solid.
He was more prolific in the second half.
Connecting on seven of his 10 shots, including 3-of-5 from long distance, Gardner poured in 25 points in the final period.
He scored 10 straight points in a 1:12 span as the Mustangs expanded the advantage to 57-38 with 13:25 left in the game.
Gardner finished 14-of-24 from the field (5–of-8 from 3-point range) and 10-of-13 from the line en route to his career-high total.
The Mustangs enjoyed their largest lead of the game, 66-44, when senior guard Darryl McDowell-White converted a layup with 10:14 left to play.
The Yotes carved into that deficit over the next 4:45, closing to within 69-63, but Gardner countered with five straight points, highlighted by his fifth and final three-pointer of the evening that put the Mustangs up 74-63.
When the Yotes drew within 76-69 with 2:06 left, there was Gardner again, converting two more free throws 13 seconds later.
A Jay Turley free throw pushed the lead back into double figures and the Mustangs weren’t threatened again.
The Mustangs’ game against No. 10 Arizona Christian will tip off at 6:30 p.m. PST on Thursday. It will be broadcast live on GoMustangs.com/Watch.
Women’s basketball stays unbeaten
The Master’s University women’s basketball team beat the University of Antelope Valley 54-39 on Monday in Lancaster.
Mustang sophomore Stephanie Soares scored a game-high 21 points with 16 rebounds and seven blocks. Hannah Ostrom added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The No. 4-ranked Mustangs (8-0) open GSAC play Thursday at Arizona Christian.
For more information on Master’s Athletics, visit GoMustangs.com.