RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- California Baptist turned a classic back-and-forth rivalry game with Azusa Pacific into a runaway with an inspired second-half performance, and the Lancers avenged their only loss of the year with a 74-55 victory Saturday night.
Junior point guard Robert Sandoval scored a game-high 20 points to go with three assists, and sophomore guard LyDell Cardwell was the only other Cougar to join Sandoval in double figures with 11 points off the bench.
With 2:44 left in the first half, a Sandoval layup tied the game for the last time at 30-30, but California Baptist scored the last five points of the first half and the first six of the second half to turn a 35-30 halftime edge into the first double-digit lead of the game at 41-30. A Sandoval three at the 16-minute mark was the only field goal Azusa Pacific made in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and that three-pointer was answered with a trey a minute later by CBU freshman Ryan Berg.
Anthony Cosentino capped the impressive 23-3 run with a three-pointer that pushed the Lancers’ lead to 53-33 with 10:54 remaining in the game. The Cougars twice got within 13 points within the next four minutes, but Berg took over to spark another Lancer run, registering back-to-back steals that led to his own three-pointer and fast-break layup to extend the lead to 67-47 with 5:55 to play.
Azusa Pacific, which shot 58 percent (14-for-24) from the field in the first half, was held to 24 percent (seven-of-29) shooting after halftime, and the Cougars lacked any outside threat, hitting just two-of-14 from beyond the three-point line.
Meanwhile, California Baptist shot 57 percent (16-for-28) from the field in the second half to keep the game comfortably out of reach. Berg was the Lancers’ leading scorer, tallying 18 points on four-of-10 shooting from beyond the three-point line, and Cosentino added 17 points and five rebounds for the Lancers.
The loss wraps up a two-week stretch of road games which sent Azusa Pacific to Hawai‘i for three games in five days before Saturday’s visit to California Baptist, which improves to 20-1 overall and 14-1 in PacWest play. The Cougars now fall to 11-9 overall and 7-7 in PacWest play, while California Baptist improves to 20-1 overall and 14-1 in the PacWest.
Up next for Azusa Pacific are four consecutive home games, starting with visits from three of the PacWest’s four Hawai‘i-based institutions. BYU-Hawaii visits on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m., followed by Saturday, Feb. 15’s 8:00 pm tipoff against Hawai‘i Pacific and a Monday, Feb. 17 date with Hawai‘i-Hilo.