Azusa Pacific basketball welcomed Dominican University to the Felix Event Center Wednesday night where the Cougar’s gave the Penguins their biggest loss of the season with a final score of 81-63.
The first five minutes of the game was a clear battle for dominance. The two teams matched one another point for point, until the Cougar’s took the lead with 15 minutes left in the first half.
The Cougars led by 12 at the conclusion of that opening half with a score of 41-29. Senior guard B.J. Porter finished the half with 15 points, 6 of which scored over three separate possessions in 40 seconds.
The Cougars out rebounded the Penguins by 20, and kept the team’s overall shooting percentage right around 35%. This significant improvement in their defense from Monday night’s loss to the Academy of Art University allowed for the Cougars to maintain double digit leads over the Penguins through the duration of the second half.
“We weren’t particularly efficient, as much as we needed to be. But at the same time we were just so good defensively that it covered up all those other areas we were insufficient,” said head coach Justin Leslie.
Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Penguins had maintained a 5-2 record on the road, but with the loss dropped to 8-5 in the PacWest and 12-9 overall.
“They’re a good team. I was not expecting that. But at the same time it was one of those where we defended consistently. And over the course of the game, if you do that, that margin is just created,” said Leslie.
Freshmen forward Jared Zoller finished the game with a career-high of 15 points, while also leading the team in rebounds for the night.
Sophomore forward Troy Leaf also finished with double digits of 20, followed by Porter with 18.
“We’re not the tallest team, we’re not the most athletic team, but we’re gonna be the team that goes out there and dives for the 50/50 ball, goes out there and does the extra business to make sure that we put ourselves in the position to win the game,” Porter said.
The Cougars’ 18-point win over the Penguins improves their PacWest Conference record to 6-5 and moves them to 9-10 overall.
Cougar basketball will hit the road, travelling to Fresno Pacific University on Saturday in their first of five consecutive away games.