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Bombs Away, Cougars Assaulted

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January 15, 2008
Gary Pine
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FRESNO, Calif. – After blowing an early 11-point lead, Fresno Pacific University responded with a game-clinching 17-0 run and then kept Azusa Pacific at bay the rest of the way to post a 66-59 Golden State Athletic Conference victory Tuesday evening at the Special Event Center.

The victory is Fresno Pacific’s first over Azusa Pacific since 1992, snapping a 32-game losing streak to the Cougars.

The Sunbird frontline of Adrian Sanchez, Todd Brown and Jordan Farley combined for 51 points and torched the Cougar defense by draining 10 shots from the 3-point arc. Farley inflicted the most damage with a game-high 19 points. He made 6-of-7 shots including all 3 from 3-point territory.

The Sunbirds made 4 of their first 5 shots from the arc to run out to a 12-1 lead less than 6 minutes into the game, but Azusa Pacific rallied and took its only lead of the game at 19-17. Seemingly the energy spent on getting back into the game wore out the Cougars who then proceeded to surrender 17 consecutive points. Sanchez, who had 16 points on the night, buried 3 straight treys during the run in which the Sunbirds assumed a 34-19 lead. A Mike Danielian trey with less than a minute left in the half stopped the bleeding, but the Sunbirds’ 34-22 halftime lead proved to be too much for the Cougars to overcome.

Fresno Pacific, which tallied 8 of its 11 treys on the night during the 2 first-half runs (the runs combined, FPU out-scored Azusa Pacific 29-1), maintained the double-digit lead through most of the second half until 5 minutes left in the game. The Cougars, though, get could no closer than 4 at 62-58 following a David Stafford trey with 36 seconds left. Sanchez made 4 free throws in the final half-minute to douse any hope of a Cougar miracle comeback to extend the longest winning streak in GSAC history.

"Give Fresno Pacific credit," said Cougar coach Justin Leslie, "they made shots with hands in their faces and we missed open shots. They made proper adjustments once our big guys started scoring and got us back into the game."

Senior forward Davon Roberts led the Cougar attack with 19 points while Todd Martin and David Burgess each added 12. Azusa Pacific out-rebounded Fresno Pacific, 31-25, but 18 turnovers and another poor night shooting at the charity stripe (5-for-11) frustrated the Cougars attempts to get back into the game.

Cougar point guards Mike Caffese and Matt Oliver returned to action after extended breaks from play because of injury.

With the loss, Azusa Pacific falls to 10-6 overall, 3-3 in the GSAC. Fresno Pacific, which had lost 16 straight at home to Azusa Pacific, improves to 12-5 overall, 3-4 in the GSAC.