Guards Guide Mustangs to Double-Overtime Victory - Mar 9, 2017
Guards Reid Shackelford (5'11''-PG) and Lawrence Russell (6'4''-G) combined for 45 points to lead the NAIA's No. 14-ranked The Master's University to a 79-74 double-overtime victory over No. 5 Hope International University in the finals of the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Tuesday night. Shackelford, an All-GSAC senior out of Murrieta, Calif., tallied a game-high 24 points, while Russell added 21, including 9 in the two extra frames to pace The Master's to its first-ever GSAC Tournament championship. With the victory, The Master's collects the GSAC's automatic bid into next week's 32-team NAIA National Championship at historic Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. Despite the loss, Hope International is expected to receive an at-large bid into the tourney as well. The entire 32-team field and first-round pairings and schedule will be announced by the NAIA national office on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:00pm PST. Watch live at NAIA DI Men's Basketball Selection Show. In a game that featured 12 lead changes and a pair of tied scores, TMU took the lead for good on Timothy Soares' lay-up to open the second OT, and the Mustangs kept its cushion the rest of the frame. The Royals were led by Josh Smith (6'4''-F)'s 19 points and 12 rebounds while GSAC Player of the Year Liam Hunt (6'6''-C) added another double-double of 16 points and 16 boards. The Royals led by as much as 6 points in the first half and took a 29-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. They pushed their advantage to as much as 8 early in the second half, but The Master's methodically chipped away at the Royal advantage, eventually taking the lead at 56-55 on a Shackelford three-pointer with 4:50 left in regulation. The team exchanged leads until TMU's Hansel Atencia (5'11''-G-97) hit a short jumper with just over 90 seconds left in regulation to force the first overtime with the score knotted at 60. In the first OT, The Master's led by as much as 4 points, but Hope International's Devin Greene (5'9''-PG) canned a pair of 3-pointers, including one with 20 seconds left to tie the game at 68-all. Greene finished with 13 points. The Master's will take a 26-4 record into its first NAIA National Championship appearance in 17 years. Hope International, which is 25-7, expects to receive an at-large berth to its fifth straight national tournament appearance.
Courtesy of GSAC Sports
GSAC Tournament Final: The Master's - Hope International 79-74 GSAC Tournament Semifinals: The Master's - Biola 83-68 Hope International - Westmont 76-61
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