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Men's Basketball - Sat, Feb. 11, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
Josh Smith scored a team-high 18 points for the Royals (Photo by Liza Rosales)
Josh Smith scored a team-high 18 points for the Royals (Photo by Liza Rosales)
(RV)Hope International
Vanguard University

COSTA MESA, CA – (RV) Hope International traveled to Costa Mesa to take on the Vanguard Lions on Saturday, February 11 in The Pit. The Royals got all they could handle in regulation from the Lions and needed an extra five minutes of overtime to come away with their ninth win in a row.

The Royals battled back and forth from the outset with the Lions as the teams traded shots and stops in the opening 20 minutes. The Royals led by as many as 10 in the first half but VUSC clawed its way back by the end of the half to lead briefly, scoring four straight to lead by three at the break. At the break the Lions had made one more shot than HIU, a three-pointer that proved to be the difference at the break with a 46-43 tally favoring VUSC at the half.

The Royals got a triple from Deondre Bryant and a pair of jumpers from Donny Punter and Devin Greene to retake the lead after the first four minutes of the second half. The Lions would rally back to take the lead with 15 minutes left in the half and held the lead for the next ten minutes until a layup from Bryant gave HIU a 74-73 lead with 5:11 to go.

HIU was able to build a 79-73 lead in the final minutes, but a desperate push in front of their home crowd allowed the Lions to tie the game with a jumper at 80-80 and time ran out before either team could break the tie.

With a fresh five minutes on the clock the Royals went on to outscore the Lions 11-6 in the extra period for the win, including a 7-2 mini-run in the last two minutes to clinch the 91-86 win on the road.

Daniel Young turned in one of the best performances of his HIU career with 15 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and two blocks while shooting 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Punter also had a double-double for HIU with 10 points and 10 assists and Josh Smith led HIU with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field. Bryant, Liam Hunt, and Greene also managed to score in double figures for HIU in the win.

Hunt left the game with nine minutes left in regulation and did not return – Coach Bill Czech was particularly impressed with his team's effort to battle without one of their leaders on the court. "I think we were down nine when Liam went out so for the guys to hang together the way that they did, I'm just really impressed," Coach Czech remarked after the game. "Josh and Daniel were special for us on both ends all night and it was great to see Deondre shoot the way he did, and then Donny with the 10 assists was big time for us."

HIU improves to 21-5 overall and is still in front in the GSAC standings with a 10-2 record, a half-game in front of Biola with one fewer loss. HIU travels to Arizona Christian on Tuesday before hosting Biola on Saturday.

M - Basketball
Overall GSAC Streak
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