A hot-handed Martin led the way with a game-high 21 points, burying 8-of-9 shots from the field, including all 5 from the 3-point line. Burgess chipped in with 15 points and a game-high 8 rebounds, while Roberts concluded the evening with a fine all-around game of 10 points, 5 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists.
“Those guys did a great job of scoring,” said Cougar head coach Justin Leslie of the trio of Cougars, “but more than that they made great decisions. We moved the ball very well tonight, and when it went inside if they didn’t have anything, they found the open guy to kick it out to.”
Azusa Pacific blew the game open midway through the first half with 7 different Cougars scoring during a 20-4 run that gave the Cougars a 35-18 advantage. At the same time Kimarley Williams came off the bench to spur a Cougar defensive effort that shut down the San Diego Christian attack. The Hawks made just 1 shot over a 9-minute stretch while committing 5 turnovers in the process.
“Kimarley really did a good job of taking their best player out of his game,” said Leslie. “When he came in that’s when the game changed.”
The Cougars led by 17 at halftime at 43-26 and a Williams trey gave the Cougars a 20-point advantage early in the second half. SDCC never got any closer as Azusa Pacific led by as much as 29. Martin hit a couple of treys in a 2-minute span to keep the Cougar pedal to the mettle.
“Todd let the game come to him and those were shots that were created by his teammates working the offense and Todd being in the right place,” said Leslie. “He made inside shots and outside shots, so offensively it was a complete game for him.”
San Diego Christian was led by Chris Neal’s 20 points. Newcomer Craig Jackson, who just became eligible, added 8 points and a pair of assists in 40 minutes of play.
“Jackson brings something different, particularly on the defensive end,” Leslie added, “but (guards) Peter (Bond) and David (Stafford) did a good job of adjusting on the fly and executing our game plan.”
Williams finished with 11 points to go along with 3 assists and a game-high 4 steals. Bond added 8 points and 3 assists.
Azusa Pacific has now won 7 of its past 9 to improve to 10-5 on the season, 3-2 in the GSAC.
“I was reminded last week how before the season started we as a coaching staff thought this team might struggle early in the season and not hit its stride until January or February,” said Leslie. “I think we’re on that pace. The guys are realizing now who they are and what they need to do to be successful. I’m pleased with their effort, and more than that the mental aspect of their game. They putting into the game what they’re practicing.”
Azusa Pacific continues on the GSAC road when the Cougars visit Fresno Pacific University Tuesday, Jan. 15 for a 7:30 p.m. game.