By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Darien McClain hit five of six free throws down the stretch to help Azusa Pacific hold off Hawaii Pacific 80-73 Thursday night at Felix Event Center.
The game was close throughout the contest as the teams continued to trade baskets. The Cougars biggest lead was the final seven point margin while Hawaii Pacific’s largest lead was six points.
Azusa Pacific led 41-36 at the half as Mandrell Worthy had eight points and Peter Kutlesic added seven for the Cougars. Darnell Bettis and David Rowlands each had seven for Hawaii Pacific. McClean hit an early three to give APU a 5-0 lead but the teams played it even the rest of the half.
The lead changed hands several times in the second half and Hawaii Pacific led 67-66 with under three minutes left. Corey Langerveld hit a huge three pointer to give Azusa Pacific a 69-67 lead with 2:41 left and they held on the rest of the way.
Worthy knocked down a pair of free throws and Selom Mawugbe sneaked inside for a deuce for a four point lead with 1:20 left. McClain’s free throws and a break away lay up by Langerveld iced it.
McClain led the team in scoring with 16 points going seven of eight from the line. Kutlesic and Worthy each scored 15, and Langerveld tossed in 14. Kutlesic and Tyson Kanseyo both had had eight rebounds.
For the Sharks Bettis led the way with 16, Rowlands finished with 15 and Nikisha Federico added 13. Hawaii Pacific out-rebounded the Cougars 39-35.
With the win Azusa Pacific improved to 13-6 overall and 9-2 in the PacWest. Hawaii Pacific dropped to 9-8 and 4-5.