Hopkins’ clutch free throws gives men’s basketball win
Sophomore Zach Zaragoza goes up for one of his six shots in a win over The Master's College on Saturday, Feb. 25. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES
Biola men’s basketball team nearly blew a 20-point lead, but came out on top with a 78-71 victory over The Master’s College on Saturday night, Feb. 25. It was the last game of the regular season and a must-win because of the intense competition in the Golden State Athletic Conference this year. Four of five Eagles’ starters scored double figures. Junior Andre Murillo had 19, junior Given Kalipinde had 17, junior Kaimarr Price contributed 14, senior Davey Hopkins added 10 and junior Chase Adams had eight. The Eagles finished the season with a 22-8 record overall and a 12-6 record in the GSAC.
Murillo shines in first half
The game was tight for most of the first half with neither team gaining a double-digit advantage. Murillo led the Eagles with 11 points at halftime despite being double and sometimes triple-teamed. Biola led 29-25 at halftime.
During the second half, Chase Gymnasium filled with energy.
“It was a fun atmosphere, similar to the APU game,” Hopkins said. “I know that all the players enjoy the crowd when they come and it gets us motivated.”
The Eagles burst out of the halftime break with three consecutive scores. They started with a basket by Price off a nice assist from Murillo. On the next possession, Kalipinde made an alley-oop pass to Hopkins for the finish. On the following possession, Adams drove in and made an easy layup, which led to a Mustang timeout. Biola continued to increase the lead for the majority of the second half, eventually leading 56-35 with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Although it seemed that Biola had already won, Master’s refused to give up and slowly whittled down the deficit.
Eagles recover from near collapse
With 26 seconds left in the game, the Eagles found themselves ahead by a mere two points with the score 71-69.
“We were thinking ‘Uh oh. This can’t happen. We can’t just blow this game,’” Hopkins said.
Hopkins was fouled on the next play and made two clutch free throws to put Biola up by four, practically sealing the game. Hopkins was the only senior on the team and since it was senior night, it was a fitting way to end the regular season.
If the Eagles lost the game, they would have ended the season ranked sixth of 10 teams in the GSAC. Since they won, they are now tied for second in the conference entering the postseason. Hopkins encouraged fans to continue to support the team through the postseason.
The Eagles now turn their attention to the playoffs where they will begin the GSAC tournament with a rematch against The Master’s College on March 1 in a home game at 7:30 p.m.