Posted: March 2, 2015
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28 :: In a nail-biting, final second victory over The Master’s College Mustangs in Santa Clarita, the #4 HIU Royals secured their first-ever Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Championship. Senior Matt Green led the team scoring 22 points, with 6 other HIU players scoring in double figures.
The Royals led 74-72 entering the final two minutes of play and held that advantage until TMC’s Russell Byrd let fly a shot from behind the arc that gave TMC a 75-74 lead with 22 seconds left. But the advantage wouldn’t last.
A two-point jumper by HIU’s Kenny Morgan with 10 seconds remaining brought the Royals’ fans to their feet and gave the team a one-point lead.
Byrd’s final desperation three-point attempt bounced off the back of the rim and was recovered by Green who was fouled with 4 seconds left. His two successful free throws put the game on ice at 78-75, sealing the win as well as HIU’s first GSAC championship for Men's Basketball.
Under Head Coach Bill Czech, the Royals compiled an impressive 26-2 regular season record. Czech was especially proud of their effort in this game against The Master’s saying, “Green shot well and played solid with four steals in 39 minutes. With the season on the line, Kenny Morgan came through for us again. Carlton Hayes and Austin Sanford played with a ton of energy.
“What a great group of guys,” he added, “They lifted the program and me as I was dealing with a very tough year personally.”
The top-seeded Royals will host William Jessup in the first round of the GSAC Tournament on Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in HIU’s Darling Pavilion.