- Inside Athletics
|Saskatchewan (Canada) 13-1||41||48||89|
|Dec. 30, 2013|
|Santa Barbara, Calif. (Murchison Gym)|
|Saskatchewan (Canada)||Indv. Leaders||Marygrove|
|#01 Lamar,Stephon - 26||Points||#00 Diante Taylor - 25|
|#15 Severinski,Trevor - 7||Rebounds||#02 JuJuan Armstrong - 5|
|#01 Lamar,Stephon - 5||Assists||2 Players (#05,#00) - 4|
|Saskatchewan (Canada)||Team Statistics||Marygrove|
|50.9% (28 - 55)||Field Goals %||55.2% (37 - 67)|
|39.1% (9 - 23)||3 Point Field Goals %||21.1% (4 - 19)|
|75% (24 - 32)||Free Throws||66.7% (10 - 15)|
|8||2nd Chance Pts||8|
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The men's basketball team received a boost Monday (Dec. 30) when they welcomed juniors Darryll Dixon (Flint, Mich./Hamady) and JuJuan Armstrong (Detroit, Mich./UM-Dearborn) into to the lineup for the first of two games at the 38th Annual Tom Byron Classic in Santa Barbara, California. The pair combined for 31 points, and Diante Taylor (Battle Creek, Mich./Central) added a career-high 25, but the Mustangs (0-14) fell just shy thanks to a Saskatchewan layup as time expired to give the Canadian school the win, 89-88.
The Mustangs – ushering in new faces to the lineup for the first time this season – took a few minutes to gel before settling in for a thrilling contest on the hardwood. Down 8-2 early, Taylor attacked the paint for a nine-point, four-rebound first half to help knot the game, 28-28, with just under halfway to play in the first half. The sophomore was able to get loose due to the added threats on the court of Armstrong and Dixon.
Freshman forward Jimmy Stewart (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte) connected on a deep three to break a 39-39 tie with less than a minute to play in the first to help the Mustangs take a 44-41 lead at the half.
Armstrong tallied 10 points at the break in a first half that played witness to six ties and two lead changes as the Mustangs clung to a three-point halftime lead.
The back-and-forth nature of the first half proved to be a sign of things to come as the latter stanza saw the lead change 10 times (four ties) in the buzzer-beating thriller to open the holiday classic. Darryll Dixon came up big late for the Mustangs as the junior connected on a three to ward off the first Saskatchewan comeback effort. The Mustangs would go ahead by four, 86-82, on the Dixon three-pointer with just three minutes to play.
Saskatchewan was stubborn and refused to go away, eventually taking an 87-86 lead with 20.8 seconds to go on a contested layup.
With one last gasp, Diante Taylor crashed the boards on a Dixon miss to connect on one of the biggest baskets of his collegiate career to put the Mustangs on top, 88-87, with four seconds to play. Saskatchewan took advantage of the four remaining seconds and drove the distance of the court for the 89-88 win over the Mustangs.
Taylor – benefiting from the increased depth – dropped in a career best 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The sophomore guard added four assists and four rebounds in the setback. JuJuan Armstrong followed closely with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting in his first collegiate game since 2011. Armstrong – one of many Mustangs in foul trouble – would foul out late.
Darryll Dixon would fight foul trouble as well and finished his first game back since February 2012 with 11 points, three assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Terrick Griffin (Detroit, Mich./PEC Prep) chipped in with 10 points.
Saskatchewan drew the officials' whistle time after time en route to 24-of-32 shooting from the charity stripe. Marygrove only made 15 trips to the line and converted 10 of the attempts. The Mustangs made up for the foul line margin by owning a 52-30 advantage in points in the paint.
The Mustangs will play the team that comes up on the wrong end of the 7:30 p.m. PT game that features host Westmont and British Columbia. Tipoff for the Mustangs next contest is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 31).
Follow men's basketball on twitter: @MGroveMBBALL