Jan. 26, 2020
In the final GSAC game between the two arch-rivals, Biola and Azusa Pacific, on Tuesday night at Chase Gymnasium, Biola led through much of the second half and survived a late rally to hand No. 7 Azusa Pacific a 65-58 loss. The game was the 100th all-time meeting between the two schools. But it was also the final in a storied rivalry referred to as one of the best small college rivalries in the country as Azusa Pacific leaves the NAIA and the GSAC at the end of the year. The rivalry dates back to the 1965-66 season, though became the arch-rivalry it is today when Biola joined the GSAC in 1994-95.
The Eagles pick up their fourth-straight win to improve to 16-7 and to 6-5 in GSAC play while the Cougars drop to 18-5 and out of first place with a 7-4 conference mark.
Chase Adams scored a game-high 17 points and added three assists with Given Kalipinde contributing 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals to lead Biola to the huge conference win. Davey Hopkins rounded out the Eagles in double-figures, scoring 13 points and dishing out four assists.
The game was another close contest, along the lines of the many of Biola's GSAC games this season. Azusa Pacific led throughout the entire first half, opening up a lead of as many as eight on a three-pointer by Brandon Dunson with 3:52 to go in the first half. Adams responded with a three-pointer 21 seconds later to cut the lead to five.
The Cougars would stretch the lead back to seven only to see Biola answer right back again with a three from Zack Zaragoza to make it a 24-20 game with 1:31 to go in the half. Adams would record a steal and fast-break layup with 46 seconds left and the teams headed to the locker room with Azusa holding a slight 24-22 lead.
In the second, Biola tied the game with a fast-break lay-in from Kalipinde 30 seconds in and took its first lead of the game at 30-28 on a Kaimarr Price jumper in the paint 2:30 later.
Azusa Pacific responded one minute later with a three-pointer from Anthony Johnson to go back on top by one, but Adams responded again, draining a three from right in front of the Biola bench to give the Eagles the lead right back. After a Robert Sandoval jumper on the other end, Davey Hopkins gave Biola the lead for good with a three-pointer to make it a 36-33 lead with 14:28 left.
The Cougars would close the lead to one but again the Eagles would counter with a three-pointer, this time from Kalipinde, who stretched the lead back up to four at 41-37. After an APU bucket Biola went on a 9-2 run over the next six minutes to take its largest lead of the game at 50-41.
Azusa did not go away and cut the lead to three on a Sandoval bucket with 3:16 to play. The Eagles responded by stretching the lead right back up to eight thanks to a Price jumper followed by a steal by Dakota Anderson leading to a three-point play by Kalipinde with 2:38 to go.
The Cougars made things interesting once again as the Eagles could only hit one of two free throws on six straight trips to the free throw line. Azusa Pacific took advantage with a three-pointer and layup from Dunson to once again close within three with 33 seconds on the clock.
But after another one-of-two for the Eagles, Dunson missed the front end of a one-and-one and Kalipinde made it a five-point game with 24 seconds left by hitting one of two on the other end. Dunson would then miss a three-pointer and Adams made both free throws to seal the Biola victory.
Anthony Johnson and Tyler Monroe each tallied 14 for Azusa Pacific with Johnson recording the double-double with 10 rebounds. Dunson finished with 11 points and seven rebounds with Sandoval contributing 11 points as well.
In a deviation from the norm, Azusa Pacific out-rebounded Biola 40-29. The Eagles, who lead the GSAC in rebounding, managed just 29 boards and only eight on the offensive side. The Cougars also controlled the paint, holding a 34-28 edge in inside scoring.
Biola's defense continued to shine, forcing 20 APU turnovers and converting them into 17 points, recording 12 on the fast break. The Eagles held Azusa Pacific to its third-lowest point total of the season with all three resulting in Cougar losses. Biola lowered its average points allowed to 60.8--the fifth-best mark in the NAIA this season.
Azusa Pacific leads the all-time series 53-47, though the Eagles' win snaps an APU four-game series winning streak after the Cougars won 66-60 in Azusa earlier this year.
This contest was the first in a tough three-game stretch for the Eagles, who now prepare to face No. 17 Concordia in Irvine on Saturday. That's followed by a trip to Santa Barbara to take on No. 22 Westmont on Tuesday before returning home for a match-up against Point Loma Nazarene on Saturday, Feb. 11. All three games are scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune covered the game. Read the article, "Eagles Land Win Over Rival."
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