APU: Kelly Hardeman 14 pts, 9 reb, 2 stl
BYU-Hawaii: Emily Nelson 12 pts, 9 reb, 2 ast
Azusa Pacific women’s basketball opened a five-game homestand with a 59-46 win over BYU-Hawaii Thursday night. Both teams were cold from the field, neither shooting better than 30 percent.
The Cougars held the edge at the half, leading the Seasiders 29-23. Ten of BYU-Hawaii’s first-half points came at the charity stripe.
“We were defending, but we were fouling,” coach Hardeman said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime – get them off the line and they won’t be able to score as many points.”
The Seasiders remained within single digits of the Cougars for more than half the second period until APU pulled away with a comfortable double-digit lead in the final seven minutes.
The Cougars limited the Seasiders to 26.9 percent shooting and just 10 points in the paint. APU also came away with 31 points off turnovers, compared with BYU-Hawaii’s five.
APU: Troy Leaf 25 pts, 5 ast
BYU-Hawaii: Scott Friel 18 pts, 5 reb
- Azusa Pacific men’s basketball defeated BYU-Hawaii 88-74 Thursday night, rising back to the top of tight PacWest standings.
- The Seasiders jumped out to an immediate lead, maintaining it for nearly 13 minutes before a 3-point shot from junior guard Bruce English tied the game at 28. APU pulled away with a 20-6 run in the final five minutes of the half, stretching its lead to 50-40 at the end of the first.
- The Cougars opened the second half with a 15-5 run, again extending their lead, this time to 65-45 in the first six minutes. They held on, never allowing the Seasiders within single digits.
- “We knew if we played with the same defensive intensity we had in the first half coming out in the second, there wouldn’t be a way they could stop us,” English said.
- BYU-Hawaii defeated APU 92-78 on the Seasiders’ home court Jan. 29. The team the Cougars saw Thursday, however, was very different from the one they saw just two weeks ago.
- The Cougars improved from a 42-29 rebounding deficit to 36-33, fighting for second-chance points and limiting the Seasiders’ opportunities. APU was hot across the board, shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range and 49.2 percent overall.
- “Robert Sandoval dominated the game with his control offensively. On the defensive side, he didn’t let Coro shoot,” head coach Justin Leslie said. “Troy [Leaf] had a completely different game assignment tonight. He carries a very heavy offensive load for us, but tonight he had to do a completely different job defensively in guarding the point guard – something we haven’t done before.”
- “We had to make those little adjustments and we had to compete in those adjustments,” Leslie said.
- Leaf led the game with 25 points and five assists while Sandoval finished with 12 points and nine assists. The bench contributed 29 points, led by English who scored a season-high 17 points and shot 5-of-7 behind the arc.
- Azusa Pacific shares the top position in the conference with Dixie State, which also won Thursday. According to the PacWest, the Red Storm currently holds the tiebreaker for No. 1 seed.
- “Nobody knows who is going to come out of this,” Leslie said. “For us, that needs to be the least our of concerns. We need to take a singular focus.”
- The men’s and women’s teams will host Hawaii Pacific on Saturday, Feb. 14.