RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Talk about a reversal of fortune.
After a 20 minutes to forget, shooting just 27 percent and getting manhandled in the paint by an undersized squad from The Master's that had just two of its seven players taller than 6-2, California Baptist University Head Coach Tim Collins gave his Lancers a directive.
"We had to figure out a way to win one of these at home, and that wasn't going to happen unless we got hungry," said Collins.
Consider them full.
Led by 14 points and eight rebounds from Luke Evans in the second half alone, the Lancers dominated the second half and turned a 15-point first half deficit into a 60-54 win over the Mustangs Saturday night in a GSAC game in the Van Dyne Gym. It is the Lancers' first home win since Nov. 23 against Redlands, a string of three games.
The win is the Lancers' second straight as they improve to 9-8 overall, 3-5 GSAC, into seventh place and just two games out of fifth. The Mustangs fall to 8-10, 1-7.
All told, the Lancers out-scored the Mustangs, 45-24 since the 1:46 mark of the first half. They used an 8-0 run to close the first half to get within seven at the intermission and then held the Mustangs to just 14 points in the first 17 minutes of the second half to open a double-digit lead, their largest at 58-46 with 1:54 left.
Evans, who had just three free throws and three rebounds in the first
half, finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, his second straight double-double
and third of the season. Freshman Nick Paulson came off the bench and finished
with 11 points, and freshman Ivan Patterson made his first career start and
finished with nine points.
"Luke really stepped up and had a great second half," said Collins. "Nick also did a good job, getting us into our offense and forcing the issue. Our young guys are growing up, and we saw some of those results tonight."
Justus Von Wright also finished with nine points.
The Lancers trailed 40-34 with 11:14 left when they proceeded on a 24-6 blitz to open their largest lead of the game. Von Wright scored a slick baseline inbounds pass to get the Lancers within two (42-40), the closest they had been since 4:53 into the game when they trailed by one. He then got a steal and a lay-up on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 42-42.
Paulson's 3-pointer with 5:59 left broke a 44-44 tie and gave the Lancers just their second lead of the game, the first since 2-0. An Evans lay-up pushed it 49-44. Von Wright's running jumper in the lane made it 51-44 with 2:52 remaining, and the Lancers and assumed control.
Anthony Cammon led all players with 22 points, but he had 18 of those in the first half and was just 2-for-7 in the second half.
"We had a really bad start on both ends of the floor, but our defense got better and we just wore them down," said Collins.
The Mustangs played just seven players and committed nine of their 11 turnovers in the second half and shot just 27.6 percent in the second half.
The Lancers trailed by 15 (30-15) with 3:14 remaining when they closed the half with an 8-0 flurry, keyed by triples from Paulson and Aleksander Milovic. The Mustangs led 30-23 at halftime, forcing the Lancers into seven turnovers and limiting them to just 27.3 percent (6-for-22) from the floor. They also outscored them 16-4 in the paint.