EAGLE ROCK, Calif. -- Led by senior center Reggie Owens Azusa Pacific used a balanced effort to hold Chapman University at bay and pick up a 78-69 victory in the first game of the Thanksgiving Classic at Occident College Friday evening.
Owens led 5 Cougars in double-digit scoring with a team-high 18 points as he continued his torrid shooting in the opening games of the season. Owens made 8-of-10 shots against the Panthers, and through 4 games this season he has converted 32-of-43 shots for an impressive 74-percent clip.
Senior forward Danny Nuget matched Owens’ pace, making 4-of-5 shots on his way to 12 points to go along with a team-high 7 rebounds.
The Cougars took an early 5-3 lead on a Marshall Johnson 3-pointer (the Cougars’ only trey of the first half) and never trailed again, pushing their lead to as much as 13 on a couple of occasions in the second half before handing Chapman its first loss in 3 games this season.
Senior guard Mike Caffese collected 11 points and 3 assists, but he was 6-for-12 at the free throw, headlining a set of Cougars who missed 15 free throws in all.
Azusa Pacific led 37-30 at halftime. Senior wing Caleb Burgess came off the bench to score 8 of his 10 points in the opening half.
Senior guard David Stafford chipped in 10 points to go along with a team-high 4 assists.
In its first meeting with Azusa Pacific since 1990, Chapman was paced by Griffin Ramme’s game-high 20 points.
With the victory, Azusa Pacific improves to 3-1 and will close out the classic when it takes on host Occidental College, Saturday (Nov. 27) at 7 p.m. in Rush Gym on the Oxy Campus.