Sat., Feb 18th, 2012 [box score
]El Cajon, Calif. --
The San Diego Christian College men’s basketball team used a combined 46 points from their starting backcourt to build a lead, but could not hold off a late Azusa Pacific University run as the #17 Cougars escaped with an 82-76 win over the Hawks.
SDCC falls to 7-16 overall and 3-13 in the GSAC. APU moves to 21-7 overall and 10-6 in the GSAC. The loss in the tenth single digit loss this season for the Hawks.
The game started with both teams going back and forth, until the Hawks took control behind 13 points from Raphael Rodriguez in the first ten minutes of the game. SDCC went up 29-18 on a Rodriguez layup at the 7:41 mark, before the Cougars went on a 9-0 run to make it a one possession game at 29-27 with 3:36 to go before halftime.
SDCC closed out the half on a 13-5 run, including a Johnny Del Bene (pictured left) three pointer as time expired, to head into the locker room with a 41-32 lead.
The Hawks came out of the half with a pair of buckets from Benji Arvizu to push the lead to the largest of the game at 45-32. APU chipped away at the Hawks’ advantage until the Cougars took a 67-66 lead on a pair of free throws with 7:28 left in the game.
APU moved their lead to 72-66, until Del Bene, on consecutive possessions, converted an old fashioned three point play and drilled a three pointer to tie the game at 72-72 with 4:13 left. After an SDCC defensive stop, Rodriguez nailed a jumper to push the Hawks in front 74-72 with 3:44 remaining.
Both teams exchanged buckets, and APU tied the game at 76-76 with 2:18 on the clock. SDCC would then miss a three pointer, force an APU turnover, and fail to convert on offense with just over a minute left. APU would then draw a foul and make both free throws to move in front 78-76. On the ensuing possession, SDCC was unable to convert on a front end of a one and one, and APU would grab the rebound with :25 on the clock, forcing SDCC to foul. The Hawks would miss their final five shots in the final moments and APU knocked down free throws to take the victory.
SDCC was led by Rodriguez with a career high 25 points while Del Bene added 21 points. Arvizu would chip in 11 points.
SDCC shot 50.0% (29-58) from the field for the game, including shooting 55.6% (15-27) in the first half.
The Hawks travel to Biola on Tuesday, February 21st for a 7:30pm tipoff.