The Cougars came away with an 18-point victory against long-term rival Biola.
Azusa Pacific University men’s basketball came away with a victory with a final score of 87-69. Justin Hemsley, Mckelary Robertson and Bryce Sloan were the top three players from APU basketball with the most points. Hemsley had a total of 14 points, Robertson had 12 points, and Sloan had 11.
APU vs. Biola University is seen as a cross-town rivalry that goes back decades due to APU and Biola University being two of the premier Christian universities in Southern California. This rivalry game is also noted as one of the biggest games of APU’s basketball season.
After the historic rivalry was renewed in 2017, the game is a part of the “Cornerstone Cup.” which has helped revitalize the rivalry in a brand-new way. “The Cornerstone Cup” can be seen as an overall prize awarded to the program that consists of the most “points.” The trophy is awarded at the end of the academic year.
The more than a decade-long rivalry continues to this day. The two college campuses also are close to each other. Biola University is around 50 minutes from APU’s campuses on the fastest route.
The APU men’s basketball team was 13-6 heading into this game. Before the Jan. 25 game against Biola, the APU went back on a winning streak of one game.
APU Basketball had the crowd on the edge of their seats during the season’s most anticipated and biggest game with the first half being filled with high intensity. The first half ended with a score of 38-32, with the Cougars taking a six-point lead. Justin Hemsley had a total of nine points in the first half.
In the first half, APU basketball had 12 rebounds, two offensive rebounds and 10 defensive rebounds.
APU men’s basketball finished with 30 rebounds, ten offensive rebounds, and 20 defensive rebounds as well as a total of 11 steals and 25 points off turnovers.
“The crowd helped the team pull out a win. It helped the defense and the offense. I think we did great. It was team basketball nobody had over 20 by themselves, and the whole team contributed,” said APU student Isaiah Harris.
Concluding the APU Vs. Biola rivalry game, I was able to speak with some APU students who attended the game.
“It was a great atmosphere, APU dominated. I saw some of the players getting excited as we brought more cheer in the crowds, and that told me that we were doing our jobs,” said sophomore Sid Varland.
APU’s Student body was also in attendance, created posters and signs and wore costumes to keep the crowd engaged.
“Tonight’s game was amazing, I loved it. I loved seeing all of the signs and being a part of the amazing atmosphere. I’m going to be attending all of the future games,” APU student Dom Gonzalez said
The next APU men’s basketball game will be another home game in the Felix Event Center. The APU men’s basketball team will play against Chaminade on Jan. 30 at 7:30 pm. More information on the men’s basketball schedule can be found on the APU athletics website.