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Master's Task Growing Larger With Second-Round Opponent

Men's basketball: Mustangs confront tall Houston Baptist lineup in NAIA tournament game.


The Master's College escaped with a victory in its NAIA men's basketball tournament opener Tuesday despite shooting less than 40%, but the Mustangs will need to worry more about defense in a second-round game today against Houston Baptist at the Tulsa Convention Center.

The Huskies (28-5) feature three starters 6 feet 8 or taller, including Mike LeBlanc, a 6-8 junior transfer from Vanderbilt.

"LeBlanc is a point forward," Master's assistant Nick Colon said. "He brings the ball up the floor and runs the offense. He's very athletic and can score."

The Mustangs (27-5) won, 78-76, in the first round over Campbellsville (Ky.), which featured a tall front line. Master's also will have to worry about fatigue today. Houston Baptist rotates 11 players.

"They're deeper than Campbellsville," Colon said of the Huskies. "They switch five players at a time. Their third- and fourth-leading scorers are on the second unit."

Master's has not made it past the second round of the NAIA tournament since 1995, when it defeated Central Washington, 88-75. The Mustangs lost in the second round to Oklahoma Baptist, 79-66, last season and to Oklahoma City, 108-85, in 1996. In 1997 and '98, they lost first-round games.

The top inside players for No. 9-seeded Houston Baptist are sophomores--6-9 center Bruce Burch and 6-8 forward Charles Fordjour, a transfer from Houston.

Colon said the Huskies will do more than post up the smaller Mustang defenders, which include 6-6 junior center Jacy Armbruster, and 6-5 seniors Joclin Julmist and Reggie McFerren.

"Their guards are good at penetrating and kicking [the ball] out to their shooters," Colon said.

Master's, ranked No. 9 in the final NAIA poll and seeded No. 8 in the tournament, turned in a typical performance in the first round, except for its shooting percentage. The Mustangs, who shot better than 50% for the season, made only 30 of 76 shots (39.5%) against Campbellsville (23-11).

Joey Penberthy scored 22 points, two more than his average. Julmist, the top NAIA rebounder at 14.5 per game, had 14 rebounds.

Today's 10:30 a.m. game will be broadcast on KIIS-AM (1220).

A victory against Houston Baptist could advance Master's to a quarterfinal game against Life (Ga.), the defending champion and top-ranked team that has defeated Master's twice by a total of five points.



At Tulsa Convention Center

Wednesday's Results

First Round

Central State, Ohio 88

McKendree (Ill.) 79

Lambuth (Tenn.) 64

Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 59

Spring Hill (Ala.) 51

St. Vincent (Pa.) 47

Faulkner (Ala.) 97

Azusa Pacific 73

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 52

Mobile (Ala.) 51

Life (Ga.) vs. 106

Southern-New Orleans 63

Oklahoma City 70

Westmont 62

Biola 92

St. Xavier (Ill.) 78


Today's Games

Second Round (Times PST)

Houston Baptist vs.

The Master's, 10:30 a.m.

Central State (Ohio) vs.

Lipscomb (Tenn.), 7 a.m.

Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) vs.

Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 8:45 a.m.

Georgetown (Ky.) vs.

Union (Tenn.), 12:15 p.m.

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) vs.

Faulkner (Ala.), 2:30 p.m.

Southern Tech (Ga.) vs.

Life (Ga.), 4:15 p.m.

Oklahoma City vs.

Spring Hill (Ala.), 6 p.m.

Lambuth (Tenn.) vs.

St. Xavier/Biola, 7:45 p.m.

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