Azusa Pacific 93
Christian Heritage 85
EL CAJON, Calif. – Clinging to a slim 3-point lead (84-81) with 2:38 to play, the NAIA’s No. 8-ranked Azusa Pacific scored 9 straight points to put away a pesky Christian Heritage, 93-85, in GSAC action in El Cajon.
Senior guard Caleb Gervin led all scorers with 28 points. It was his third 28-point effort this season, and his third game in the Cougars’ last 4 in which he finished with at least 20 points.
A Rich Griffin lay-up made it a 3-point contest (84-81) with 2:38 to play. Ladrick Simon hit a pair of free throws, and Jeff Staniland buried a 3-pointer to push the margin to 8 (89-81) with 1:47 to go. Staniland and Gervin then converted a pair of free throws each, and the Cougars was safely back at 12 (93-81).
The Cougars, who led by as many as 17 in the first half and 10 at the intermission, were in control for much of the contest. However, the Hawks, who are a 33% shooting team from the 3-point arc, buried 9 first half treys and finished with 12 to keep the game close throughout.
Staniland buried a trey just 1 minute into the second half to give the Cougars a 55-45 lead when the Hawks responded with 11 straight points to take their first lead of the contest (56-55) with 14:24 to play. The teams exchanged leads for the next 5 minutes until a pair of Gervin free throws at the 9:28 mark broke a 65-65 tie and gave the Cougars the lead for good. Ladrick Simon converted a pair of free throws, and Gervin followed with another jumper as the lead ballooned back to 6 (72-66) with 8:23 to go. The Hawks got no closer than 3 the rest of the way.
Gervin finished 9-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in 39 minutes of action.
As a team, the Cougars shot a blistering 54.5% (30-for-55) from the field, and an impressive 41.7% (10-for-24) from downtown. The Cougars also shot 88.5% (23-for-26) from the charity stripe.
Simon added 20 points and 7 rebounds. He hit 7-of-12 shots from the field and all 6 of his free throws. Staniland hit a trio of treys to key his 19 points in 38 minutes. He and Brett Michel each tallied 5 assists. Michel also finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 10-2 overall, 2-0 GSAC. Christian Heritage drops to 6-6, 0-1.