East County Sports

Novsek, Hawks shock No. 2 The Master’s for monumental upset

By Nick Pellegrino

East County Sports staff writer

EL CAJON (12-9-2018) – San Diego Christian College senior guard Derek Novsek scored his team’s final nine points, including a pair of tie-breaking foul shots with 11 seconds remaining to give the Hawks a stunning 82-80 upset of national No. 2-ranked The Master’s University in Saturday’s (Dec. 8) Golden State Athletic Conference contest at Grossmont College.

Novsek, who finished with a game-best 27 points, missed on a jump shot to take the lead, ey was fouled by the Mustangs. The 90-percent foul shooter calmly sank both shots.

“This was the biggest week of our season, and luckily I felt this was our best week of preparation,” said Hawks coach Dwayne Cosby. “I thought we was better prepared for Hope International than the Master’s, but was confident in anticipating concepts and understanding their personnel.”

The Mustangs’ final chance saw a miss on a potential game-tying layin in heavy traffic at the buzzer. Of course, Novsek came up with the defensive rebound to cap San Diego Christian’s biggest victory in years.

“It was the most fun I’ve ever had competing in a game in my career so far,” said Novsek. “What made it so memorable is how hard I needed to work against them in order to lead our team, make plays, and being able to have success against a great coached team.”

The school website called the triumph the “biggest win in program history,” although the school did capture an NCCAA national championship in 1989-90 when coached by former UCLA and NBA center Swen Nater.

However, no one was nit-picking as the student body swarmed the court. Little did they know, Novsek’s first foul shot made for an 81-80 lead was the 1,000th point in his Hawks career. The second foul shot gave him a game-high 27 points; he also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Added Novsek, “(Defeating The Master’s was a very rewarding feeling.”

Jared Nyivih added 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, bolstering the Hawks to 47-percent shooting from the floor, plus 17-of-22 at the foul line. San Diego Christian (3-5 overall, 1-1 GSAC) will take 10 days to savor the huge win before meeting UC Merced in the Central Valley on Dec. 18. The Master’s fell to 8-2 overall (2-1 GSAC).

The Master’s is coached by former Hawks head and assistant coach Kelvin Starr, who also coached at Christian High.

Starr said, “(It) just shows you how tough the conference is.”

Starr should know. The Master’s used to be at the bottom of the GSAC standings, but not since he took over.

Novsek noted, “Coach Starr has done a remarkable job turning that program around, making them into one of the best teams in the nation, and representing our conference at the highest level.”

The contest also held deep feelings for Cosby.

“On a personal level, its always a significant game for myself, I was supposed to play with coach Starr and (assistant) coach (Thomas) Lowery during their time here at San Diego Christian,” Cosby noted. “We have the same mentor in (former Hawks head coach) Art Wilmore, and I coached their sons — Jordan Starr  and Thomas Lowery, Jr. (both freshmen for the Mustangs) — at Christian Middle School when they were in the 8th grade.”

In addition to the Hawks’ Novsek, Mustangs guard Hansel Atencia also eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier despite TMU losing its 8-game win streak.

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