Fullerton, CA- On Saturday, Hope International men's basketball made a splash when they qualified as the second seed for their first ever GSAC Tournament appearance with a 50-44 win over The Master's. In a battle of defenses, 12 points was the most scored by any player (The Master's Devin Dyer). Senior Kris Rosales and Junior Jeremy Kilgore both scored 11 points for the Royals.
The Royals (24-6, 9-5 GSAC) used the first five minutes to build an 8-2 lead. Six of their first eight points came in the paint with sophomore Austin Sanford scoring four of those points.
But the Mustangs quickly answered to force an eight all tie on two three pointers from Derrick Fain with 13:53 to play.
A dunk from senior Orlando Collins was followed up with another made three pointer from The Master's that gave them their first lead of the night. Those were the only two scores for nearly five minutes.
At the 6:16 mark, The Master's held a 17-16 edge. However, 50 seconds later the lead turned back into the favor of Hope International when Collins banked in a long distance two pointer.
Hope International would go on to take a 20-17 lead into the break.
With such a low scoring first half, the eight points by The Master's's Fain was the high in the half. Kilgore had seven first half points to lead the Royals. For perspective, Collins collected more first half rebounds (9) than points anyone scored.
The second half started with a lead change (a three pointer by The Master's's Devin Dyer), tie (layup by sophomore Randal Guillory), and another lead change (layup from Rosales).
Hope International would hold the lead until The Master's tied the score at 4-41 with 4:37 to play.
On the next possession down the floor, the Royals moved back ahead with a three. Guillory let the three fly with about one second left on the shot and ball went through the net with the shot clock violation horn and lights going off. Hope International would not trail again in the game.
Dyer had the best second half as he scored all 12 of his points after the break. Rosales scored 10 of his 11 points in the second half.
Collins grabbed seven more rebounds in the second half to finish with 16 rebounds for the game. Going along with his 10 points, Collins earned double-double number 12 of the season- second in the GSAC.
The Master's's Jason Logan also had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Head Coach Bill Czech stated, "I am really proud of how my guys grinded out the game with a great defensive effort- specifically Guillory guarding one of the most dangerous shooters (Dyer) in the GSAC. Guillory was really locked in holding Dyer to zero first half points. Then Guillory hitting the three with the shot clock expiring was pretty awesome. Kilgore defended Leif Karlberg and held him to just four points- Kilgore was just relentless on defense. It was really nice to finish out the regular season with a win for the Seniors like Rosales who dedicated themselves to our program and school."
Next on the agenda for the Royals is their appearance in the GSAC playoffs- their first ever in Men's Basketball since Hope International joined the GSAC in 1999. They will host Biola in the first round on Thursday night at 7:30 pm in the Darling Pavilion.