APU Men’s basketball continued their hot streak, now winners of seven of their last eight games

Azusa Pacific Men’s basketball came in on a hot streak on Saturday night’s clash with Hawaii Pacific. With hopes of putting on a solid performance to a national audience, the Cougars beat the Sharks 72-56. The game was broadcasted by ESPN 3.

In a solid defensive outing for the Cougars, they led by as many as 26 points in the second half after they held the Sharks to just 21 points in the first half. The defense was led by junior forward Selom Mawugbe who led the team with four steals and two blocks in the contest.

After beating the Sharks in Hawaii just a couple of weeks ago, with a similar score of 70-52, coach Justin Leslie was impressed with the way his team played.

“It was a really strong performance on the defensive side,” Leslie said. “I was real proud of the guys for that because that was what I was on them in the practices leading up to the game, on how we were to defend and stick to the defensive scheme.”

On the flip side, it was an awful night for the Sharks on offense who shot a very low 25 percent from the field in the first half. This gave the Cougars the breathing room they needed for the rest of the game.

Junior forward Jake Spurgeon had 12 points and eight rebounds in the rout over the Sharks. Spurgeon gave credit to the team’s preparation in practice of the zone offense that we saw the Cougars rolling with on Saturday night.

“We got a lot of open looks in the first half,” Spurgeon said. “We played really together and worked out a lot on our zone offense.”

Senior guard Darien McClain also had a night, leading the Cougars with 13 points and seven assists.

Although the Cougars dominated for what felt like the entire game, Leslie wanted to see the offense score on open looks more consistently.

“The quality of looks were there for our guys, we just weren’t making them, and normally at home those fall –– so I expect Tuesday that we will knock those down,” Leslie said.

The Cougars stay hot, now winners of seven of their last eight games, and are headed into the final stretch of the regular season before tournament play. The Cougars return home on Tuesday night at home against Chaminade at 7:30 p.m.