By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Grant Dressler hit a three point shot with eight seconds left to give Chaminade an improbable 77-75 win over Azusa Pacific Tuesday night at Felix Event Center.
The Cougars had outscored Chaminade by seven in the second half to go up 60-43 with 11:43 left and all was right in Cougarville. Then the Silverswords staged a furious rally going on a 22-4 run to take a 65-64 lead. Andre Arissol hit a big three in the run and Dressler had a steal and a break away to give Chaminade the one point lead with 5:39 left.
The Cougars weren’t done – not by a long shot. Ben Taufahema hit a three and APU answered with a little run of its own to go up 72-68 with 3:20 left.
The Cougs still led 75-74 with 1:17 left but couldn’t find another basket. Selom Mawugbe missed a jumper on one possession and after Dressler’s three from the top of the key made it 77-75 Chaminade, APU had one last shot. But Darien McClain’s three hit the rim and caromed off the mark. The ball bounced away and a scramble ensued but the clock hit zeroes touching off a Silversword celebration.
Things looked good for Azusa Pacific early. The Cougars went on a 12-2 run to open the game capped by a slam dunk by Mawugbe, however Chaminade showed it came to play answering with a 15-2 blitz to go up 17-14 with 11:49 to play.
Azusa Pacific battled back to take a 35-27 lead with 2:19 left. A 9-0 run capped by a three pointer by Taufehema gave the Cougars a 38-27 lead. Will Ferris had 10 points and Jonathan Davis added eight as APU took a 40-30 lead into the break at halftime. Mawugbe had eight and five rebounds.
For Chaminade Dressler scored 18 points to lead both teams in the first half and Eric Scheive added six.
A Ferris three and another Mawugbe dunk sparked a 11-5 run to open the second half as the Cougars went up 51-35.
Taufahema knocked down another trey to put the Cougars up by 17 at 56-39. APU maintained that 17 point advantage at the 11:43 mark when Chaminade staged the comeback.
For the victorious Silverswords, Dressler led all scorers with 29 including the dagger with eight ticks left. Tyler Cartaino had 22 but after that there was a drop off. Arissol scored nine (all three pointers) and Scheive had eight.
For Azusa Pacific Ferris finished with 23, Taufahema had 12, McClain 11 and Mawugbe 10. Jake Spurgeon pulled down 11 rebounds as the Cougars outrebounded Chaminade 43-27 overall. But they were two points down in the scoring column.
The win was big for Chaminade as it improved to 13-5 in the PacWest Conference – one-half game ahead of APU. The Silverswords are 19-5 overall. The Cougars fell to 16-10 and 13-6 in conference.