TURLOCK, Calif. – Senior forward Davon Roberts scored a career-high 19 points and sparked a 20-8 Cougar run in the first half to lead Azusa Pacific to a 78-67 victory over Dominican University in the consolation game of the County Bank Classic hosted by Cal State Stanislaus.
Roberts, who made 9-of-11 shots on the night, scored 8 consecutive points midway through the first half to lead the Cougars out of a 24-21 hole and into a 29-26 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Guard Mike Danielian added 14 points, and center David Burgess enjoyed his finest game as a Cougar with 10 points, 8 of which came in the second half, to go along with a game-high 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots in just 21 minutes of play.
Dominican, which trailed by 5 6 minutes into the game, used a 10-2 run to take a 20-17 lead following a Ryan Trammel jumper midway through the opening half. However, Roberts single-handedly responded for the Cougars with some terrific post moves, fast break lay-ups, and an impressive dunk in which he leaped over the defender.
“Davon brought it tonight,” said Cougar head coach Justin Leslie. “He made a solid effort. He is such a mismatch in open space, and they had a hard time guarding him.”
Roberts scored 9 points in a 5-mintue span and mixed amongst Roberts’ personal outburst were back-to-back 3-pointers by Todd Martin and Matt Oliver and when Burgess made his only field goal of the first half, Azusa Pacific found itself with a 40-30 lead, eventually settling for a 41-34 cushion at halftime.
“We were here last night when we were up by 11 at halftime and couldn’t win the game,” added Leslie. “I challenged the guys tonight to set the defensive tone when we started the second half.”
Other than one run in which Dominican rallied back to within 3 with less than 9 minutes to play, the Cougars answered the Leslie call, led by Roberts who first converted a lay-up to push the Cougar lead back to 5 and then found Peter Bond in the corner for a clutch triple that pushed the Azusa Pacific advantage out to 8 at 57-49. Danielian followed with another 3, Burgess hit short jumper, and when Roberts hit another shot in the paint, the Cougars were back up by 15 at 64-49 with just over 4 minutes to play.
“Davon simply made plays tonight,” Leslie added, “and his pass to find Peter for that clutch 3 was huge.”
For the second straight night, Azusa Pacific dominated the foe on the glass, out-rebounding Dominican, 39-28, which included 13 on the offensive end. However, the Cougars registered just 11 points off its numerous second-chance efforts. Twenty turnovers didn’t help Azusa Pacific’s attack.
“We have a lot of little things we still need to clean up,” said Leslie. “We have to stop turning over the ball on silly things. Dominican didn’t even pressure us on defense but we turned the ball over like committing unforced errors in tennis.”
With the win, the Cougars improve to 4-3 on the season while Dominican falls to 1-6.
Azusa Pacific returns home to resume GSAC play Tuesday (Nov. 27) against Westmont for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.