SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Senior Devin Dyer, playing in his final game in Bross Gym, scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to help The Master's College gallop past Vanguard 75-67 before an appreciative Senior Night crowd Tuesday evening.
The victory gave the Mustangs consecutive wins for the first time since late December and improved the team to 16-12 overall and 5-8 in the GSAC. With one game left in the regular season and the GSAC Tournament on the horizon next week, the club finds itself sharing fifth place with Vanguard and Biola in the chase for the best seeding possible.
Much of the reason for the Mustangs being in that spot belongs to Dyer (Temecula, CA) who sparked a second-half rally and then willed his team to keep the Lions away down the stretch.
Down 39-28 at halftime, the Mustangs turned to Dyer for offense and the club's leading scorer didn't fail as he fueled a 16-2 run over the first six minutes of the closing stanza. He started with a three-pointer and then added a pair of jumpers along the way while a Travis Divita (Santa Clarita, CA) basket with 15:38 left to play put the Mustangs ahead (42-41) for the first time in the game.
Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) capped the skein with a layup for a three-point lead but that was erased quickly by an 11-0 burst by the Lions, who held the Mustangs scoreless for nearly five minutes in building a 52-44 advantage with under 10 minutes left to play.
With the game starting to get away, the Mustangs looked to Dyer once again and along with help from several teammates, the squad turned the tide in decisive fashion. An Austin Loeb (Cypress, CA) jumper at the 9:16 mark triggered a 13-2 burst in a 3:35 window that Paul Brown (Kingston, Jamaica) capped off with a tie-breaking, three-point play with 5:41 remaining. In between, Dyer buried a couple of jumpers, including one that knotted the game at 54.
Although the Mustangs would never trail again, there wasn't a sense of finality until the last minute of play. The Lions kept them in that state of uncertainty, crawling to within a point on a couple of occasions and being one basket away from taking the lead on others.
Looking for some breathing room, the Mustangs finally got it when Dyer stole the ball and dunked on the other end, putting the Mustangs ahead 65-60. The Lions shaved a point off that lead on their next possession, but Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX), who scored all 12 of his points in the second half, answered with a jumper and when Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC) threw down an alley-oop from Leif Karlberg (Anchorage, AK) with 50 seconds left to play, the Mustangs had their largest lead of the evening to that point, 69-62.
Fain and Logan made sure the victory was secure, combining for the club's final six points from the charity stripe.
There was nothing secure about a lead in the first half because the Mustangs never enjoyed one during the game's first 20 minutes. The Lions leapt to a 7-0 lead and enjoyed a 16-5 advantage when Chris Gorman sank a trifecta with 15:46 left in the half.
On the verge of being blown out, the Mustangs got a pair of free throws from Logan to spark a 7-0 skein, closed out by a Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) dunk that pulled the club within 16-12 with 12:14 showing on the clock.
That only seemed to enrage the Lions who scored 10 of the game's next 11 points to forge a 15-point (28-13) advantage with just under 10 minutes left in the half.
On the cusp of being left far behind once again, the Mustangs galloped back, using a Karlberg three-pointer to trigger a 9-2 burst that sliced the deficit into single figures, 30-22. Logan added a tip-in, Dyer connected on a pair of free throws, and Loeb capped off the run with a jumper.
It took only two possessions for the Lions to move the lead back into double-digit territory and when Kelly Taylor sank a trifecta with 2:49 remaining, the Lion lead had grown to 39-26. Loeb, who tallied a team-high seven points in the opening stanza, hit another jumper a minute later and neither team would score again as the Lions took an eleven-point advantage into the locker room.
That margin was built on 59% (16-27) shooting from the field, including a glittering 6-9 effort from behind the arc. On the other hand, the Mustangs had nothing to apologize for, hitting at a 50% (10-20) clip.
That all changed in the second half as the Mustang defense stifled the Lion attack to the tune of 28% accuracy while the Mustangs converted just under 55% (18-33) of their shots.
Dyer's team-best total was built on 8-12 shooting while Logan and Fain tallied 14 and 12 points, respectively.