The season is young, but rest assured that players from The Master's have had their fill of cracks about needing divine intervention to win basketball games.
And, yes, they have been informed several times that they don't have a prayer of winning a game.
The latest example of that occurred Thursday night at Cal State Northridge, where the Mustangs took on the host Matadors, who all of a sudden came out runnin' and gunnin'.
Northridge (3-2) won, 85-55, scrapping its normally deliberate offense in favor of a fast-paced transition game. At the same time, the Matadors proved once and for all that they do not belong in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The Matadors this season have beaten only lower-division teams. Northridge, which last week found out it does not belong in Division I, either, plays host to its first Division II opponent, San Francisco State, tonight.
Master's fell to 3-6, all of the victories coming last week in the Azusa Pacific Invitational. The Mustangs beat San Jose Bible, Pacific Christian and Christian Heritage to win the tournament.
Next thing you know someone will say they came in a little overconfident.
Well, that's almost exactly what was said.
"We weren't ready to play, mentally or physically," Coach Randy Stem said. "We won the tournament and then didn't practice well all week. Maybe we relaxed a little. And that's my fault."
The truth be told, the Mustangs never had a chance to relax. Northridge was scoring too fast.
Master's, which is 0-13 against CSUN, fell behind early against the Matador starters and got buried late against their reserves.
"I'm really convinced that Northridge is scared to lose to a religious school," Stem said afterward. "They go out and play as hard as can be. They made it quite clear they didn't want to lose to The Master's College."
That sounded a little like he might have been accusing Northridge of pouring it on, but if so he has the Matadors' second team to blame. Specifically forwards Sherdrick Bonner and Alan Fraser.
Bonner, who played quarterback for the Northridge football team this past season, saw action on the court for the first time this season and scored 14 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in only 12 minutes.
Fraser, who was recruited out of Fullerton College to add a little muscle to the front line, played 14 minutes, scored 14 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
"It was the type of game that allowed Sherdrick to show a lot of his athletic skills and abilities," CSUN Coach Pete Cassidy said. "We went up and down the floor and didn't run anything very sophisticated. He's only been with us a few weeks. He's a real talent. He'll help us."
Fraser, a 6-6 forward, was equally impressive in less-spectacular fashion.
A blocky 225 pounds, Fraser used his strength inside the key to grab six offensive rebounds and showed a soft touch in making 7 of 9 field-goal attempts.
Pat Bolden added 13 points and six rebounds for Northridge.