Selom Mawugbe and Jake Spurgeon each put up a double-double en route to an 80-54 win over FPU

Azusa Pacific men’s basketball team has been on an incredible hot streak this year, rattling off 14 straight wins in PacWest play entering Thursday’s matchup against Fresno Pacific (FPU). The Cougars kept their streak alive at home with a dominant 80-54 victory over the Sunbirds. 

“My biggest takeaway from this game was just how disciplined we were defensively,” said head coach Peter Bond. “They’re a team that is athletic, they attack the basket well, and we just stayed with our responsibilities. We were really good as a team. In the second half, you could tell that really wore them down.”

APU took the lead for good with 18:46 left in the first half on senior Jake Spurgeon’s three-pointer to put the Cougars up 3-0. The Cougars took off from there, putting together a 9-2 run in the first three minutes of the game and keeping about a five-point lead for a majority of the half. With about seven minutes left in the first half, APU put their foot on the gas and opened up the lead a little more. 

Freshman Ken West and senior Ben Taufahema hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Cougars up by 11. Senior Selom Mawugbe finished a classic three-point play with a lay-in through contact and a free throw to put the Cougars up by 14, their largest lead of the half. The Sunbirds traded shots with APU for the next few minutes, but the Cougars were happy to trade two-pointers on defense for three-pointers on offense, as Noah Bundrant added to the offensive barrage. Taufahema’s free throws with one second left in the half gave the Cougars a 41-30 advantage at the break. 

“I thought we did a good job of going from the inside back out,” said Spurgeon. “Selom did a good job of taking what the defense was giving him and we as a team had some really good looks. We weren’t knocking everything down, but that is the beauty of our offense. Everyone can score and we know that. We spread the ball around and play unselfishly.”

The second half was more of the same from the Cougars. They got stops on defense and converted their open shots on offense. Midway through the second half, APU was up by 20 points. Mawugbe scored four straight points, increasing the Cougars’ lead to 71-47, and the starters were able to rest for the final six minutes of the game. 

“We did a really good job of getting into passing lanes, communicating, and if they do get inside, we have Selom there, and he is blocking everything,” said Spurgeon. “Part of college basketball is having the ability to scout, and our coaches do a phenomenal job of that. So I think one thing we did well today was knowing our personnel according to the scouting report and then we executed well along with that.”  

The Cougars’ bench didn’t miss a beat, holding on to a 26-point lead for the duration of the game and sealing an 80-54 victory. 

Spurgeon and Mawugbe led the way for the Cougars, each posting a double-double. Mawugbe finished the night with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Spurgeon was not far behind with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Taufahema finished the night shooting 3-8 from behind the arc, with 11 points and six assists. Freshman Ken West led the Cougars’ bench in scoring with eight points, followed closely by Terrence Becvar with seven. 

APU turns its attention to Dominican, who visits on Saturday, before their final regular-season home game on Thursday, February 20. The Cougars finish the regular season with three road games before returning home to host the PacWest Conference tournament March 5-7.