By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Azusa Pacific had a tough time shaking Hawaii Hilo early but finally pulled away in the second half to win 95-82 Thursday night at Felix Event Center.
Will Ferris scored 16 points including four three pointers as Azusa Pacific took a 44-42 lead over Hawaii Hilo at the half. Petar Kutlesic and Ben Taufahema also knocked down threes but Azusa Pacific had trouble shaking Hawaii Hilo.
Eric Wattree III scored 13 for Hilo and Devin Johnson and Riley Callaghan each had 11 as Hawaii was 7 of 10 from three point land in the first half.
Selom Mawugbe had seven for the Cougs.
In the second half Mandrell Worthy hit a three and Ferris scored on a lay up to spark a 10-0 run as APU went up 54-44 in the early minutes. However Hawaii Hilo responded with an 11-0 run to go up 55-54.
With Hawaii up 57-56 Corey Langerveld hit a three and then knocked down three free throws while Worthy scored on a driving lay up that sparked a 16-2 Cougar run for a 72-59 lead. Later Darien McClain swished an NBA three to put Azusa Pacific up 75-62 with 8:00 left.
Hawaii wouldn’t go away however and sliced it to 81-74 with 4:39 left in the contest.
Langerveld came right back to sink another one from the land of plenty for an 86-74 margin with 3:21 left to ice it.
Hawaii Hilo tried fouling down the stretch but the Cougars were up to the task putting down the free throws.
For Hawaii, now 6-18 overall and 5-12 in the PacWest Conference, Watttree III led all scorers with 23 points, Callaghan had 19 while Johnson and Will Burghardt both finished with 16. Hawaii stayed in the game hitting 15 of 26 from behind the arc.
Ferris led APU with 22 and Langerveld had 16. The Cougars had six players in double figures as Worthy finihsed with 14, Selom Mawugbe scored 13 and Kutlesic and McClain had 11 and 10 respectively. Azusa Pacific was 12 of 27 from three point land and the Cougars outrebounded Hawaii Hilo 40-27.
For Azusa Pacific seniors Langerveld and Kutlesic it was the last game of their college careers at Felix Event Center and they were recognized before the game.
APU improved to 18-8 and 14-4 in conference. The Cougars have two regular season games left before the PacWest Conference Tournament March 1-3.