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Crushing Sprint to the Finish

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December 12, 2008
Gary Pine
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SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Dean Hadley, Jeremy Haggerty and Ryan Zamroz combined for 55 points and accounted for every point in a game-ending 19-2 run to lead unranked The Master’s College to a 79-69 upset of No. 11 Azusa Pacific in a Golden State Athletic Conference game in Bross Gym Friday evening.

The frontline of Hadley and Haggerty made 12-of-18 shots from the floor, and Zamroz converted 9-of-10 free throws, all in the second half, to lead the Mustangs back from 7 down with 6 minutes left in the game.

The Master’s weathered a pair of Cougar second-half runs to rally for its largest margin of victory at home over Azusa Pacific since a fashioning a 12-point decision in 1997.

The Cougars assumed a 51-45 lead following a Dominique Johnson 3-pointer with 11:18 left in the game. However, the Mustangs ignited their own 12-0 answer, sparked by back-to-back Hadley treys that gave TMC a 57-53 lead.

Azusa Pacific came back with its own round-house punch on the strength of freshman Marshall Johnson, who scored 15 of this career-high 21 points in the second half. Johnson spearheaded a 14-3 Cougar blitz, capped by a his fourth trey of the game that put the Cougars up and in control at 67-60 with 6 minutes to play.

However, Johnson’s field goal was the Cougars’ last for the next 5 minutes. In the meantime, The Master’s buried 4 straight shots and scored 14 consecutive points in a 19-2 run as the wheels fell off for Azusa Pacific. Zamroz drained 2 free throws to tie the game at 67-all, and Hadley followed with his third 3-pointer of the game to give the Mustangs a 70-67 lead that it did not relinquish.

Despite shooting just 31-percent (11-for-35) from the floor and 46-percent (5-for-11) at the line in the first half, Azusa Pacific somehow found a way to assume a 31-29 lead at halftime. Azusa Pacific’s depth and bench play wore down a tired set of Mustangs late in the first half to steal the lead.

A safe assumption would have Azusa Pacific repeating the script in the second half, but instead The Master’s rode a wave of emotion, determination and renewed energy down the stretch to run away from the Cougars.

TMC out-rebounded Azusa Pacific, 41-34, with Haggerty leading the way with 11 caroms.

Though he missed 8-of-10 shots from the 3-point arc, Mike Danielian still aided the Cougar cause with 16 points. His second trey of the second half gave Azusa Pacific a 64-59 lead.

The Master’s, which has defeated a pair of nationally-ranked teams this week (NCAA DII No. 22 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Tuesday), improves to 8-3 overall, 1-1 in the GSAC. Azusa Pacific falls to 5-3 overall, 1-1 in the GSAC.