Fullerton, CA- Hope International opened the GSAC portion of their schedule with a 74-65 win over The Master's. The Royals used solid defensive pressure and a balanced attack - five Royals in double figures - to secure the win. Senior Jeremy Kilgore finished with a team high 16 points. Junior Carlton Hayes impressed with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Royals (13-3, 1-0 GSAC) kicked off their GSAC season scoring the first six points. Sophomore Garrett Neilan nailed a free throw and then a jumper sandwiched around a three pointer from Hayes. Hayes nailed 3 three pointers on the night. Prior to the game, Hayes had made just three other threes all season.
The Mustangs (12-4, 0-1 GSAC) scored the next five points and were within one at three different times including at 11-10. They actually capped off a 4-0 run with a jumper to momentarily grab the lead at 12-11.
Kilgore scored his first two points of the night with a jumper that gave HIU back the lead at 12-11. That turned out to be the only lead change of the first half (and ultimately the game).
HIU took a 31-25 scoring edge into the locker room on the strength of shooting 80% (4-5) from behind the three point line. Hayes was the leading scorer in the half for the Royals with nine points as he was a perfect 3-3 from behind the three point arc.
On the first offensive possession of the second half for the Royals, Junior Matt Green knocked down his second three pointer of the night to push HIU back in front by nine.
The first13 minutes of the second half resulted in the teams basically playing between a 13 and 9 point HIU advantage.
Hayes had a nice up and under reverse layup to give Hope International a 15 point lead- their largest of the night- with 6:23 to go in the contest.
Several late despression three pointers by TMC made the score a lot closer than how the second half really played out.
Neilan ended the night with 15 points while Junior Austin Sanford added 14 points. Green rounded out the balanced scoring attack with 10 points.
Head Coach Bill Czech commented, "Great start to conference. The Master's is one of the better teams in the GSAC with really good big men and shooters. (TMC's Head Coach) Chuck Martin is a phenomenal coach. I am happy with the defensive attention to detail. Sanford did an outstanding job in his defensive assignment. Hayes was a real presence on the boards and choking off the lane for drives. Kilgore was exceptional in his defensive assignment as well. Tonight was probably the best defensive effort by Neilan in two years. Hayes sparked us early and grabbed two key offensive rebounds late. The support on a night when school was not in session was great. The Royal Rowdies gave us a big lift as the sixth man."
On Saturday, No. 25 Hope International will host No. 10 Concordia in the Darling Pavilion at 7:30 pm.