Atherton, CA -- Dominique Lanier scored a career-high 22 points, including a 10-11 showing from the charity stripe, and led a parade to the free throw line as The Master's College upended host Menlo 77-73 on the second and final day of the Lamont Ramsey Classic on the San Francisco Peninsula.
The victory was the Mustangs' season-best third in a row and lifted their record to 6-2.
Early on, the Mustangs didn't have to do much from the line as Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) ignited a game-opening 6-0 run with a jumper 11 seconds into play that Zach Stalin (Bellingham, WA) and Bernard Ireland (Victorville, CA) contributed to with jumpers.
Fittingly, Lanier (Lakewood, CA) converted the afternoon's first free throw for a 7-2 lead at the 17:08 mark of the first half. Those would be the last points either team would post for nearly four minutes before Menlo's Keith Bowman strung together a pair of jumpers, slicing the Mustang lead to a single point at the 12:36 mark.
A little over two minutes later, the Oaks took their first lead (10-9) of the evening on a Dylan Severson basket but Derek Walters (Fresno, CA) responded with a pair of free throws on the Mustangs' next possession, setting up a back-and-forth sequence that resulted in seven ties and six lead changes during the first 20 minutes of play.
Two Stalin free throws with 8:43 left in the stanza gave the Mustangs a 15-12 lead and when Lanier canned a jumper almost seven minutes later (1:58), the visitors had a four-point advantage (29-25), their largest since the opening three minutes. The Oaks surged back to tie the game but Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) canned a jumper at the buzzer to give the Mustangs a 31-29 halftime lead.
Stalin's eight points at the break paced the Mustangs, who shot 56% (10-18) from the field, and his 4-4 showing at the line led an 11-12 charity effort by the club over the opening 20 minutes. Meanwhile, the Oaks went just 3-7 from the stripe and 12-27 (44%) from the field.
Lanier, who had seven first-half points, scored his club's first four of the second stanza for a six-point (35-29) margin and that was the largest the Mustangs enjoyed until a Patureau jumper with 15:28 remaining sparked a game-changing 10-0 run in a three-minute span that transformed a three-point game into a 52-39 runaway. Or, so it appeared.
After Fain capped the skein with a jumper, the Oaks started to chip away at the deficit. A George Kipiani three-pointer at the 11:57 mark made it a 54-45 game but Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) duplicated that more than two minutes (9:23) later as the Mustangs re-established a double-digit (60-49) advantage.
It would be their last of the contest as they spent the final nine minutes trying to hold off the fast-closing Oaks. An 11-4 burst by the hosts run carved the deficit down to four points (64-60) with less than six minutes remaining. A little over a minute later, Menlo finally caught the Mustangs, evening things up at 66 on a John Smith jumper.
Patureau answered with a tie-breaking jumper on the Mustangs' next possession but the Oaks knotted it up again on another Smith basket. The Mustangs responded once again, though, and it was Lanier who was the instigator, rattling off seven consecutive points. He unlocked the tie with a jumper and then added a pair of free throws and a three-point play in a 1:14 span, vaulting the Mustangs to a 75-68 lead.
That proved to be enough although the Oaks made it far too interesting in the final minute before Walters and Ireland sealed things up with free throws.
The Mustangs, who shot a season-best 56% in a 22-point win over Cal Maritime on Friday afternoon, almost equaled that in another solid shooting display on Saturday, hitting at a 54% (26-48) clip.
However, the difference-makers were the shots the Mustangs made at the line where they finished 23-26 (89%) compared with a 14-26 effort by the Oaks.
In addition to his near-flawless performance from the line, Lanier was 6-9 from the field and he also took down a team-high six rebounds. Patureau, making his second straight start, hit 7-10 from the field en route to 14 points and Stalin chipped in with 12 more.
The Mustangs are off for nearly a week now before returning to action, playing their fourth straight game on the road next Friday (Dec. 6) when they travel to Redding to take on Simpson.