Apr. 14, 2021
Senior guard Marlon King scored a season-best 25 points to lead No. 5 Biola to an 85-69 victory over arch-rival Azusa Pacific University in a GSAC game on Tuesday night at the Felix Event Center in Azusa.
The Eagles keep up their perfect start to the season, running their record to 14-0 and 4-0 in GSAC play. The Cougars drop to 8-6 overall and to 1-3 in the conference.
King led all scorers with 25 points and added six steals, five assists, and four rebounds on the night. Senior center Rocky Hampton recorded his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and adding 12 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
The game was really only close for the first few minutes, though Azusa Pacific did make things interesting at the end. Biola saw a 32-point second-half league dwindle down to 10 on a pair of occasions with under five minutes to play, but the Eagles were able to hold on for the victory.
"We are glad to get a win, anytime you get a win over here you have to be happy about it," said Head Coach Dave Holmquist. "I thought for most of the game we played very well. They got momentum late in the game, but down the stretch we got the momentum back and made some plays over the final minutes to put the game away."
Both teams got off to a hot shooting start in the first few minutes as the game was tied at 14-14 just seven minutes in. Biola broke the game open with a 13-3 run over the next five minutes capped by a three-pointer from right in front of the APU bench by Clay Martin to give the Eagles a 30-17 lead. Biola led by as many as 15 in the first half and headed to the half up 12 at 39-27.
The Cougars drew first blood in the second half as Caleb Burgess drained a long three-pointer just nine seconds in to pull APU within nine at 39-30. However, that would be it for the Cougars over the next seven minutes as Biola went on a long 24-1 run capped by a steal and lay up by King which made it 63-31 at the 13:42 mark.
Azusa Pacific slowly worked back in an made a game of it down the stretch. The Cougars slowly worked their way back in, hitting five three-pointers over the next nine minutes and added 13 free throws to close the gap to 10. Azusa Pacific made it a 10-point game on a pair of shots from the charity stripe by Marshall Johnson which brought it to a 73-63 score with 3:32 to go.
On the next possession, King was fouled and hit a pair of free throws, followed by a steal and fastbreak layup by Nate Rakestraw which stretched the lead back to 14 and the Eagles never looked back.
Azusa Pacific lived from beyond the arc in the game, recording 12 of their 19 made field goals from three-point range. The Cougars shot just 34.5 percent from the field, but stayed in the game thanks to 12 three-pointers and 19 free throws--17 in the second half.
The APU strategy of sending the Eagles to the free throw line--where they are shooting just 58.5 on the season--nearly paid off. Biola went to the line 31 times in the second half, but made just 18 of those shots including going 11-for-22 as the Cougars closed the gap in the final five minutes.
"We played really well for about 30 minutes," said Holmquist. "At some point we didn't play so well. We missed free throws and didn't take care of the ball. We relaxed on defense and they played really hard and they made plays. But I thought for most of the game we played really well. We won and I'm happy with that."
The victory is the 14th of the season, making this the fourth-best start to a season by the Eagles. Previously this season's team had been matched with 1986-87 team which had also started 13-0. That team, however, was unable to defeat Azusa Pacific in the 14th game of the season, snapping the streak.
"You can't be anything but happy about (starting out 14-0)," said Coach Holmquist. "We have won some close games and have won some games that weren't that close. We know we have to improve a lot since the toughest part of our schedule is up ahead. But we are certainly happy with the way things have gone so far."
King and Hampton were two of four Biola players to reach double-figures on the night. Rakestraw added 13 points and six steals while Danny Campbell added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.
Burgess led the Cougars with 21 points while Dominique Johnson added 15 and Marshall Johnson recorded 14.
The victory was the second-straight Biola win over the Cougars at the Felix Event Center after the Eagles embarrassed APU 76-54 when the two met last season. It was also the third win out of the last four games overall for Biola in the series between the arch-rivals.
Biola returns home for its next game, hosting San Diego Christian College on Saturday (Jan. 9) at 7:30 p.m
Written by Jeff Hoffman, Sports Information Director. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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