AZUSA, Calif. – Suspense? Oh there was some, but it revolved more around records than a result.
The NAIA’s No. 3-ranked Azusa Pacific scored the game’s first 14 points, found itself up by 27 less than 8 minutes into play and went on to run away from an undermanned Puget Sound Christian College for a 138-56 nonconference victory Tuesday evening at the Felix Event Center.
The result was never in doubt as the Cougars drained 6 of their first 8 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, while forcing 4 consecutive Anchor turnovers following the opening tip. The Cougars led 14-0, 20-3 and in a matter of moments, Azusa Pacific was up 32-7 following a Tristan King lay-up, 2 of 42 points the Cougars would get on fast break opportunities through the night.
Six different Cougars scored in double figures, paced by redshirt freshmen Ralph Miley and Peter Bond, who combined for 44 points and 20 rebounds tonight after coming into the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds between them through Azusa Pacific’s first 9 games. Miley poured in a team season-high 28 points, including 18 in the second half, on 13-for-19 shooting, while the 6-foot-2 Bond poured in 16 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds.
“I’m pleased with our effort tonight,” said Cougar coach Bill Odell. “We did what we wanted to. We didn’t press them, but we did push the tempo. We didn’t run the score up, and we executed our offense and got everybody plenty of time in the game.”
The nonscholarship Puget Sound Christian team was handcuffed from the beginning when all 3 of its reserves were unable to suit up because of injury, forcing the 5 starters to play the full 40 minutes. Ashley Robinson led the Anchors with 20 points.
Azusa Pacific led 74-26 at halftime and its final margin of victory, 82 points, was its largest lead of the game, coming 1 point shy of the school record. The 1999 Cougars beat Bethany College, 120-37 for an 83-point win. Also, the 138 points scored ties the school record that the 1989 Cougar tallied in a 164-138 loss to the Hank Gathers-led Loyola Marymount Lions.
No Cougar starter played more than 20 minutes and Demario Butler was the only one in double figures, tallying 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting which included 2 thunderous ally-oop dunks, in just 12 minutes of action. Scott Zea also came off the bench to record 16 points, while King finished with 11 and Matt Oliver added 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Led by Miley, Bond and Zea, the Cougar bench scored 93 of Azusa Pacific’s 138 points.
With the victory, the Cougars’ eighth straight, Azusa Pacific improves to 9-1 on the season.