By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Azusa Pacific opened up a 20 point halftime lead and went on to beat Hawaii Pacific 72-56 Saturday night at the Felix Event Center.
The Cougars started slow, trailing 9-7 though the first six minutes, but then went on a 15-2 run capped by a Gerritt Beestra three to go up 22-9.
APU then reeled off another 10-2 rally that featured a long three by Ben Taufahema and went up 41-21 at the half. Hawaii Pacific could never dig itself out of the hole.
The Sharks outscored the Cougs by four points in the second half but could never sustain any type of a run.
Azusa Pacific shot 41 percent from the field overall in a well rounded effort. The Cougars had three players in double figures with Darien McClain leading the way with 13 points. Jake Spurgeon had 12, including two from rainbows from beyond the arc, and Selom Muwugbe finished with 10 points down on the block. Beestra and Ben Avera each had nine and Tafahema ended up with five.
Azusa Pacific had a big edge in rebounds 44-34. Spurgeon had eight and Mawugbe pulled down seven.
For Hawaii Pacific it was an uphill climb all night. The Sharks shot just 36 percent from the floor including 25 percent in the first half. Jonathan Janssen was the only player to crack double digits scoring 13 and Ronald Blain had nine.
With the victory Azusa Pacific improved to 16-9 overall and 13-5 in the PacWest Conference. The Cougars were tied for third place coming in. Hawaii Pacific fell to 7-16 and 4-14.
Next up for the Cougars is a home game Tuesday night against Chaminade.
HP 21 35 56
AP 41 31 72