GOLDEN, Colo. – Azusa Pacific put in the same effort it used in Tuesday night’s 17-point victory. Unfortunately, the opponent was significantly different this time.
Mesa State flattened a lethargic set of cold-shooting Cougars, parlaying an 18-6 run to start the second half into an easy 92-64 victory over Azusa Pacific on the opening night of the Mines Tipoff Classic just outside of Denver.
Guard Mike Dominguez scored 13 of his team-high 21 points in the second half to lead the Mavericks, and all-conference guard Jase Herl added 15 points to go-along with game highs of 9 assists and 9 rebounds to finish with an all-around terrific game.
Meanwhile, Azusa Pacific offered little of a counter-attack other than in the form of All-American Dominique Johnson, who poured in a game-high 25 points on 10-for-14 shooting which included a trio treys. The rest of his Cougar mates – 10 others to be exact – produced just 39 points and shot a paltry .268 (11-for-41) from the floor.
As was the case in the victory over Occidental Tuesday night, the Cougars did not shoot well but this time, against Mesa State, there would be no 26-0 run. Mesa kept the pressure on by torching the second-half net at a .593 (16-for-27) pace. Dominguez made 5-of-6 shots, and Lance Fite, who came off the bench to toss in 18 points, was a perfect 4-for-4 over the final 20 minutes. It was a Fite 3-pointer less than 5 minutes into the second half that put the Mavericks up 57-41, and the rout was on. The Cougars never got any closer than 13 point the rest of the way, and Mesa State led by at least 20 over the final 8 minutes of the game.
Azusa Pacific committed just 14 turnovers, but the Cougars were hammered on the glass, getting out-rebounded 40-26, and an inability to make shots spelled doom.
Freshman Christian Katuala came off the bench to register career-highs of 9 points and 9 rebounds for Azusa Pacific.
The Cougars continue play in the Mines Tipoff when they take on tournament host Colorado Mines at 6 p.m. (PST) tonight. Live stats of tonight’s game are available.