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Cougars Win, Execution Style

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February 5, 2008
Gary Pine
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Junior Kimarley Williams scored a season-high 16 points off the bench and center David Burgess registered his fourth double-double of the campaign with season highs of 15 points and 16 rebounds to lead Azusa Pacific to an 83-73 Golden State Athletic Conference victory at Westmont College Tuesday evening.

The victory is Azusa Pacific’s tenth over Westmont in the past 11 meetings and gives the Cougars their fourth season sweep of the Warriors in the past 5 years.

Azusa Pacific used a balanced effort to pick up its fourth win in 5 games with a quartet of Cougars scoring in double figures and 7 in all scoring 8 or more points.

Senior reserve guard Matt Oliver added 10 points, his first double-digit effort in nearly 2 months, and none were bigger than the 3 he scored on a trey to thwart a Warrior run early in the second half that nearly got the Westmont back in the game. Todd Martin tallied 13 points, including 9 early in the contest.

The Cougars rolled from the opening tip, scoring 33 of the game’s first 44 points to assume a 22-point advantage at the midway point of the first half. The Cougars were raining threes from all over the court, making 8 of their first 11 attempts at the arc. Martin and Mike Danielian each knocked down their first 2 bombs to get Azusa Pacific to a 12-4 lead, and from there the Cougars controlled play.

As sharp as the Cougars were with their first-half long-range shooting, they were even better with their offensive efficiency, committing just 1 turnover through the first 19 minutes of play. And defensively, they stifled the Warrior backcourt of Tyler Dutton, Josh Ware and Andrew Schmalbach, who were a combined 0-for-10 from the floor through halftime. It all translated into a 44-27 Cougar lead at the break.

“Westmont did exactly what we thought they would, and it was just like we practiced,” said Cougar coach Justin Leslie. “Therefore our guys were comfortable and executed the offense, making good decisions.”

Azusa Pacific employed the same game plan that it used for the UCLA game, expecting Westmont to double-team Burgess. In turn, the 6-foot-10 center kicked the ball out and the Cougars made a second swing pass which led to open 3-point shots for Danielian, Martin and Williams.

“We knew if we correctly executed our offense and made a second pass out of the kick out, Westmont couldn’t rotate quickly enough,” said Leslie. “Seven of our 8 3-pointers in the first half were uncontested shots.”

Westmont, though, did not go quietly into the night. Dutton and Schmalbach found their shot and scored 29 of the Warriors’ 48 second-half points. The duo opened the second frame with 4 straight treys, 2 from each Warrior, and when Schmalbach buried a short jumper, Westmont was back within 8 at 49-41 less than 5 minutes into the second half.

“To their credit, Westmont adjusted really well in the second half, and Dutton and Schmalbach were aggressive in looking for their shot,” said Leslie. “The game turned when we subbed Kimarley and Dave (Stafford) into the game. Their defense on Dutton and Schmalbach in the second half was great.”

With Westmont knocking on the door of getting back into the game, Burgess put down a short turnaround jumper against a double-team, and Oliver followed with his 3-pointer push the Cougar lead back to double-digits where it remained until late in the contest.

“Burgess played so well tonight,” said Leslie. “He kept his poise at times when it got intense out there, and he passed the ball very well. He may have had only 1 assist, but he made great decisions when to get the ball out of the post so we could swing it around for an open 3, and when to muscle up for a shot.”

Williams made 6-of-7 shots, including 2-of-3 from the arc to account for his 16 points that went along with 5 rebounds. His 27 points in the past 2 games are his best back-to-back efforts of the season.

“Kimarley is becoming more confident and comfortable with our system,” said Leslie. “With his quickness and savvy, he such a terrific defender, and his defense translate into points for him.”

With the victory, Azusa Pacific improves to 14-8 on the season, 7-5 in the GSAC. Westmont has its 3-game winning streak come to an end and falls to 11-9 overall, 5-7 in the GSAC.