Fullerton, CA- Hope international held No. 12 CSU San Marcos to just 20% shooting from the field in the second half to come from behind and beat the Cougars 82-67 on Saturday evening. The Royals shot 56.3% from the field as a team in the second half as five finished the game in double figures. Senior Jeremy Kilgore topped Hope International with 17 points.
The previously undefeated Cougars (9-1) knocked down the first two points of the evening.
Junior Matt Green buried his first three pointer of the night to give the 7-1 Royals a short lived 3-2 edge. San Marcos moved back in front before Sophomore Garrett Neilan and Junior Austin Sanford both converted two pointers that tied the score with Sanford's shot making it a 7-7 score.
Two possessions later, Cal State San Marcos hit a three pointer and grabbed the lead for the remainder of the first half. By half time, they were up 40-33 though their largest lead was eight points.
Green was the high point man for the Royals at the break with nine points. Meanwhile, De'end Parker of the Cougars had cashed in a half high of 16 points.
Hope International had the opening possession of the second half and just two touches and four seconds from the inbounds pass Green let a three pointer fly right through the bottom of the net and the comeback was on for the Royals.
Hope International used a 9-1 run out of the break to take their first lead of the second half at 42-41 on a jumper by Kilgore. They eventually turned that run into a 25-6 game changing run in the first eight and a half minutes of the second half. Six different Royals scored during that run led by eight points from Sanford.
San Marcos was held to just 11 points by the Hope International in the first ten minutes of the second half.
At about the 6:30 mark left in the contest, Kilgore buried a three pointer that had dual significance. First, it pushed the Royals lead in the game back into double digits for good. Secondly, but more impressively, the three pointer sent Kilgore over the 1,500 point mark in his Hope International career.
By the final whistle, Kilgore had cashed in nine second half points to reach his 17 for the game. Sanford powered his way to 12 second half points to finish with 14. Green ended up with 13 points. Junior Carlton Hayes scored six points in each half to reach his 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Neilan added an even 10 points. Sophomore Tuff Barnes delivered a great second half with all eight of his points, five of his game high nine rebounds, both of his blocks, and a steal.
Head Coach Bill Czech had this to say after Hope International's impressive win, "Cal State San Marcos is an unbelievably tough and talented team and extremely well coached. I was really happy with our focus all week. We had a great week of preparation. Assistant Coach Bill Carter did a tremendous job of preparing the scouting report for this game. He never asks for any credit and always does a great job. We have a very unselfish group of guys who really pull for each other and have each other's back at all times. We appreciate our students showing up and supporting us."
The Royals will spend the next week closing out their semester before heading up to UC Merced for a Saturday matchup. The game with the Bobcats is set for a 1:00 pm start in Merced.