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Master's Is True to Life in Season-Ending Loss

Basketball: Mustangs fall in NAIA men's quarterfinals, 79-68, losing to top-seeded Running Eagles for third time this season.

March 18, 2000|LYNN JACOBSEN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

TULSA, Okla. — The Master's College never figured out Life University this season.

Life again got the best of the Mustangs in a 79-68 victory on Friday in the quarterfinals of the NAIA men's basketball tournament at Tulsa Convention Center.

The Mustangs, who lost two close games to the defending national champions this season, tied the score, 49-49, on Reggie McFerren's layup with 12:06 to play but were held scoreless for five minutes and Life pulled away.

Top-seeded Life (32-2) capitalized on the Mustangs' dry spell with 14 consecutive points for a 63-49 lead with 7:41 remaining.

"We had that spurt where we turned the ball over three or four times in a row, and they scored every time," Coach Bill Oates of Master's said. "That turned the game around. That made us have to fight back."

The Mustangs (28-6) rallied to within 67-63 with 3:20 remaining, but never any closer.

Guards Joey Penberthy and Kenny Jackson began the comeback.

Penberthy, a 6-foot-3 senior who led the Mustangs with 20 points, made two free throws and a driving layup to close the gap to 63-53 with 6:35 to play.

Jackson, a 5-8 junior guard, scored the Mustangs' next eight points.

He hit a 12-foot jumper and two three-point shots to cut the deficit to 67-61.

Bas Van Rhee, a 6-5 sophomore, banked in a shot to close the gap to 67-63.

But Life ended a three-minute drought on Derrick Shaw's baseline jumper.

More importantly, the senior forward ran down the shot clock to one second before taking the shot.

Master's countered with two free throws by McFerren, a 6-5 senior who scored 13 points.

The Running Eagles took care of business at the line by making their last six free throws.

The Mustangs, playing in their second NAIA quarterfinal in seven years, held the biggest lead of the first half, 35-29, before Travis Ingram of Life rattled off eight consecutive points to give the Eagles a 37-35 advantage at halftime.

Oates believed Master's should have led comfortably at halftime. The Mustangs made 14 of 37 shots (37.8%) in the first half, missing many close-range shots.

"We didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had on layups in the first half," Oates said. "As a result, we came in at halftime behind when we should have been ahead if we had hit our layups."

Ingram finished with 24 points. He hit 10 of 13 shots, including four of six three-point shots.

Master's held Jimmie Hunter to 20 points.

The sophomore guard scored 39 points in an 87-86 victory over Master's in Marietta, Ga., in January and 37 points in a 96-92 victory in Newhall in February.

Dominic Avila, a 6-1 junior guard, scored 10 points for Master's. Jacy Armbruster, a 6-6 junior forward, scored eight points.

The Mustangs made 12 of 29 shots (41.4%) in the second half and shot 39.4% (26 of 66) in the game. They out-rebounded Life, 44-40.

Joclin Julmist, a 6-5 senior forward who led the NAIA at 14.5 rebounds per game, had 14 rebounds and seven assists. He scored two points.

Master's, which has qualified for the NAIA tournament in each of Oates' seven seasons, opened the tourney with a 78-76 victory over Campbellsville (Ky.) and defeated Houston Baptist, 81-61, in the second round.

The Mustangs reached the quarterfinals in 1995, losing to Belmont (Tenn.), 91-72. They lost second-round games last season and in 1996.

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