East County Sports

Hawks are stars in upset of The Master’s

San Diego Christian dunks against the Master's on Thursday. / Nick Pellegrino
2021-22 SAN DIEGO CHRISTIAN MEN’S BASKETBALL

HAWKS 73, MUSTANGS 69

ECS staff report

EL CAJON —- In the biggest upset in the Golden State Athletic Conference this season, San Diego Christian College barely clung to a late, 7-point advantage, staving off The Master’s University, 73-69, in men’s basketball action Thursday (Jan. 13) at El Cajon Salvation Army gymnasium.

The Mustangs, which entered GSAC play with a perfect 9-0 slate, saw its early-season bubble burst when the struggling, last-place Hawks (3-14 overall, 1-7 GSAC) overcame a putrid start, only to pull even by the second media timeouts.

Not only did The Master’s leap to a quick 12-8 advantage, but the visitors were also in the bonus situation as the Hawks committed the game’s opening six fouls. But when D.J. Wilson was called for an offensive foul, the Hawks’ defense hit the “go” button, only two free throws over a span of 7:58, including a 6:30 shutout string.

The rest of the contest became the usual battle between these historic rivals, which were both independents when the Hawks program started in the 1986-87 season.

In the second half tied at 46-all, SDCC went on a 9-0 run — baskets by four different players — to mount the night’s largest lead.

The Mustangs got the margin to two with four minutes to go before SDCC answered, then again moved to within three on a traditional three-point play (layin and a foul shot) with 45 seconds remaining. Starr is the son of TNU coach Kelvin Starr, who used to coach the Hawks.

On the next possession, SDCC committed a turnover, giving TMU an opportunity to force overtime. However, Starr’s 3-point shot missed, as the Hawks added a free throw with less-than-a-second left to seal the upset.

San Diego Christian’s Bryson Becker scored a team-best 16 points, one of three Hawks in double figures. The others were K’lon Williams (15 points) and Jermaine Camacho- (10 from off the bench).

For The Master’s, Gavin DeJong paced the Hawks with 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting. Kaleb Lowery added 20 points (6-for-8 FGs) and led the ballclub with six rebounds, but the balance of the roster combined to net just 6-for-39 (15.4 percent) as the Hawks correctly adjusted the defense to slow the visitor’s frontcourt.

The Hawks hit the road for a Saturday date at Westmont before returning home for a two-game set. They host Menlo next Saturday (Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m.) and William Jessup (Saturday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m.)

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