AZUSA, Calif. – A little bit of everybody did a lot of everything to lead Azusa Pacific to a 71-53 Golden State Athletic Conference victory over Westmont College Tuesday evening in the Felix Event Center.
Nine different Cougars scored; 9 different Cougars had assists, and 4 different Cougars had 5 or more rebounds. It was Azusa Pacific’s most complete victory of the young season and certainly one to build upon heading into Saturday’s monumental game vs. defending GSAC co-champion and NAIA No. 2-ranked Concordia University.
“This was a good team win,” said first-year Azusa Pacific head coach Justin Leslie. “There was no individual standout but rather a lot of guys doing little things. We executed pretty well and didn’t try to do too much. It all added up to a good team win.”
For the second straight game senior forward Davon Roberts led Azusa Pacific with a game-high 16 points, including 11 in the second half. His nothing-but-net trey from the top of the key gave the Cougars their first double-digit lead of the game at 38-27 just 2 minutes into the second half. From there Azusa Pacific maintained the comfortable advantage the rest of the way, leading by as much as 18 on several occasions, including the final margin of victory.
Todd Martin added 13 points off the bench to go along with 8 rebounds while junior David Burgess produced his first double-double as a Cougar with season-highs of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Perhaps unnoticed yet just as significant in the play of the 6-foot-10 center were his game-high 4 assists from the post, including a pair of nifty back-door tosses to Roberts under the basket.
Junior guard Kimarley Williams continued his emergence as aviable force since moving in the starting 3 games ago, tallying 10 points, due in part to a pair of 3-pointers, to go along with a season-high 6 rebounds.
“Several players stepped up tonight,” Leslie added. “Guys made shots and the offense was balanced.”
Equally as strong was the Cougar defense which held Westmont to just 34-percent (19-for-56) shooting and forced the Warriors to miss 18-of-22 shots from the 3-point arc.
“Westmont is a tough scout because there is so much to learn in defending the Princeton offense,” said Leslie, “but we did a good job of concentrating in practice the past 2 days and understanding what Westmont was trying to accomplish and it really helped us tonight. If we continue to focus on defense it could become a strength for us.”
Westmont, which was paced by Dan Rasp’s 15 points and 7 rebounds, used a 9-2 run to pull to within 11 at 53-42 with just under 8 minutes left to play, but that was as close as the Warriors would get in the second half. Roberts responded for Azusa Pacific with a lay-up and the Cougars quickly rebuilt their advantage back to 18 following the second David Stafford trey of the night to give the Cougars an insurmountable 64-46 lead with 5:41 remaining in the game.
With the victory, which is the Cougars’ seventh in the past 8 meetings with Westmont, Azusa Pacific improves to 5-3 on the season, 1-1 in the GSAC. Westmont falls to 2-2 and 0-2 in the GSAC.