Reserve guards Marshall Johnson and Mike Danielian led the Cougars in scoring with 20 points each. Johnson broke out with 16 points in the second half, balancing his scoring output from within the paint and outside the arc, and collected a team-high 8 rebounds for the entire game. Danielian contributed his 20 points through a team-high 6 three-pointers.
"Marshall was an explosive scorer tonight," said Cougar head coach Justin Leslie. "We want all our reserves to be starters off the bench and they'll be ready to step up for us as the season continues."
Azusa Pacific opened the game with a 37-10 run in the first 13 minutes and never looked back, denying Afghanistan within 20 points of the lead for the rest of the game. Twelve different Cougars scored, and more than half of their 82 total shots came from beyond the 3-point line.
Junior guard Dominique Johnson put together a solid game with 13 points, including a powerful crowd-rising dunk early in the second half. Sophomore guard Mike Caffese created outside havoc for Afghanistan with a team-leading 10 assists and 4 steals.
The Cougars are in pursuit of their 14th GSAC championship in 17 years and the conference opener gets no bigger than next Saturday’s battle with the NAIA's No. 5-ranked California Baptist, which is slated the conference coaches preseason pick to secure the GSAC title.
"We are getting tested well in our non-conference games but the jury is still out on us," Leslie said. "We are maturing, making small steps, but we are nowhere where we want to be at the end of the season."
Azusa Pacific takes a 4-2 record into conference play and hosts California Baptist on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the Felix Event Center, which follows the women's basketball season home opener against the Lancers, at 5:30 p.m.