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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Master's Opens NAIA Championships Against Formidable Oklahoma City

March 17, 1998|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

How's this for a first-round opponent?

The Master's College (23-11), making its fifth consecutive appearance in the NAIA Division I men's basketball championships, plays No. 8-seeded Oklahoma City (25-4) tonight at 6:45 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.

Oklahoma City won titles in 1991, '92, '94 and '96. The Chiefs eliminated Master's, 108-85, in the second round in 1996. Master's best showing came in 1994, when the Mustangs lost in the quarterfinals.

But Master's Coach Bill Oates said the Mustangs are not intimidated.

"Is not overpowering for us to play at the national tournament," Oates said. "We are used to playing against that caliber of competition during the regular season."

The Mustangs twice lost to top-seeded Azusa Pacific (31-4), including 88-79 at home in November, and once to No. 9-seeded Incarnate Word (Texas), 91-63, in January. Both teams are in Master's bracket in Tulsa.

Master's is led by guards Jerome Joseph, who averages 16.8 points, and Joey Penberthy, averaging 13 points. Forward Jeremiah Cathey averages 11.5 points and forward Joclin Julmist averages 11 rebounds.

The 32-team, single-elimination tournament runs through Monday.

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