El Cajon, CA- Hope International pushed their win streak to five straight - the longest current men's streak in the GSAC - with a 75-67 win over San Diego Christian on Tuesday. The win moved the Royals currently into sole possession of third place in the GSAC standings. Free throw shooting down the stretch turned out to be the difference in the contest for Hope International. Junior Matt Green topped the Royals with an even 20 points.
Green came out ready to play as he accounted for the first six points scored by the Royals (19-9, 7-6 GSAC).
HIU twice built as large as an eight point lead in the first fifteen minutes of the game. But both times the Hawks (8-14, 4-9 GSAC) responded and eventually came back to tie the game.
The Royals faced their first deficit of the game with 4:28 to go in the first half. However, a pair of free throws by junior Carlton Hayes and a three pointer by Green gave Hope International back a three point cushion.
But San Diego Christian turned a seven point deficit into a one point lead just before the half thanks an 8-0 run in the final 2:15 of the first half.
At the break, Green and SDCC's Trevor English (a perfect 4-4 from the three point line) both had recorded a half high of 12 points.
The first four minutes of the second half set the tone for the remainder of the contest. SDCC opened up to a three point lead before Hayes buried a three pointer and Junior Austin Sanford delivered two points in the paint to grant HIU a four point advantage. However, back-to-back three pointers moved SDCC back in front just like that.
The exchange of lead changes and then ties continued until the game was locked up at 56-56.
Senior Jeremy Kilgore put home a jumper at 6:14 that gave HIU the lead for good in the game.
In fact, the Royals closed out the contest outscoring the Hawks 19-11. Kilgore came through with seven of those final HIU points. The final overall seven points came from the free throw line for the Royals as they nailed seven of eight shots from the charity stripe to ice the game.
Behind Green's 20 points, Hayes finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. For Kilgore, 11 of his 16 points came in the second half. Sophomore Garrett Neilan added 14 points.
English topped the Hawks with 20 points of his own. Rafael Rodriguez was second with 14 points. Kwaminique Brandon dished out 11 assists.
Rebounding played a big role in the outcome of the game as HIU out rebounded SDCC 42-30. Fourteen offensive rebounds played a big part in the Royals attempting 13 more shots than the Hawks.
On Saturday, a win at The Master's would the lock up the third seed for the Royals headed into the GSAC playoffs. The Hawks will close the regular season at Vanguard - the same place they could be headed for the first round of the GSAC playoffs. Both games on Saturday will tip-off at 7:30 pm.