Men’s basketball continues their winning ways as they take down Biola
It was a packed house on Saturday night as The Zu was out in full force for Azusa Pacific’s heavily anticipated matchup against their rival Biola Eagles. APU took advantage of the energy in the building and translated it to their play as they took down Biola 87-66 for their ninth straight win.
With Cornerstone Cup points on the line, this game had a special meaning for everyone in attendance.
“It’s just fun. It’s just fun,” head coach Peter Bond said. “The last thing I said to the team before the game was let’s just go out there and have fun. It’s going to be a fun environment so let’s embrace that and go out there and have some fun.”
Starting off, the game was pretty back and forth but as time wore on, Biola began to wear down on the defensive side of the ball. After ten minutes of play, the Cougars led by six but were consistently getting good chances at the basket. The first few minutes were chaotic but as the first half continued, Biola began to settle into their game and were creating more good scoring looks for themselves.
As the half began to come to a close, APU’s three-point shooting took over and restored their lead. Scoring four consecutive from beyond the arc, APU found themselves with a 12-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.
Going into halftime, the Cougars held on to a 10-point lead but that was mainly due to a three-point shooting outburst towards the end of the half. Most would agree that the first half was a lot more closely contested than the scoreboard represented at the half. However, APU was shooting an efficient 55 percent from the field including 45 percent from the three-point line. In terms of individual performances, junior Brennan Rymer led the way with 15 points all coming from three-pointers.
“We are really good shooters as it is so the last few games we’ve been seeing [success],” said Rymer following a 24-point performance that included eight three-pointers. “If we see one go in it becomes contagious.”
With the second half underway, APU was looking to extend their lead even further and continue their hot shooting. The trend would continue as APU was able to extend its lead over Biola to 14 points with just under 15 minutes remaining in the game.
As the game approached the halfway mark of the second half, Biola continued to hang on to the game but just by a thread. APU consistently held anywhere from a 10 to a 20-point lead for the entirety of the first ten minutes of the second half. A key difference in the offensive performance of both teams was the rebound game. APU was able to outrebound Biola 36-27. Securing those second and third opportunities was huge for the Cougars in being able to seal this win against a talented Biola squad.
When the final horn sounded, the Cougars celebrated victory and another dominating statement over rival Biola. However, although the game was certainly a fun one, there are still plenty of games left to be played and the Cougars know this is just one more chapter of the season.
“I would say that is where the film comes into play,” said senior Selom Mawugbe. “Sometimes what we see going on in real-time can look a little different when you break it down so there are always things that need to be fixed.”
Moving forward, the Cougars have 11 games remaining and currently hold a record of 14-3 on the season including a 9-2 record in PacWest play. The Cougars’ next game will against Notre Dame de Namur on Saturday, January 25th at 4:30 p.m in the Felix Event Center.