PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona Christian University (13-4, 3-2 GSAC) led 46-28 with 1:39 left in the first half after a 15-2 run, and led by as many as 22 points late in the second half on its way to a 90-74 Golden State Athletics Conference men's basketball victory over San Diego Christian College (5-9, 2-3 GSAC), Tuesday, January 22, in Fultz Memorial Gymnasium in Phoenix.
In other GSAC men's basketball action Tuesday, the NAIA's number 15 team, Hope International University (19-2, 4-1 GSAC), the GSAC's second-place team, trounced Biola University (11-10, 1-4 GSAC), 71-37, and Concordia University (13-6, 2-3 GSAC), the defending NAIA National champion, got past Vanguard University (13-6, 2-2 GSAC), 82-81, on field goal with five seconds remaining in the second half.
Arizona Christian led just 31-26 with seven minutes left before halftime when it went on a 15-2 run which propelled the Firestorm into a 46-28 lead with 1:39 left. Junior forward Daniel Cornelius (Phoenix, Ariz./Phoenix Christian H.S.) drilled a three-pointer and a short field goal in the lane, and junior guard Charles King (Houston, Tex./Stephen F. Austin H.S./Phoenix College), Arizona Christian's leading scorer (15.8 ppg) made four free throws during Arizona Christian's decisive streak, and Arizona Christian maintained a 46-32 halftime lead. Cornelius led Arizona Christian with 11 first-half points and 2 three-pointers, and Arizona Christian scored 14 of its points as the direct result of 10 San Diego Christian turnovers. The Firestorm committed just four first-half turnovers and also made 18 of its 34 shots (.539) and 3 three-pointers, while the Hawks made 13 of 29 from the field (.448) and 2 three-pointers.
Arizona Christian maintained a double-digit lead for the first 8:08 of the second half when SDCC sliced Arizona Christian's advantage to nine points, 62-53. Arizona Christian regained its double-digit lead 22 seconds later and stretched the margin to 22 points, 89-67, with 3:15 left, after scoring 10 consecutive points at the beginning of an 11-1 run over a period of 3:06. Freshman forward Jackson Helms (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley H.S.) made four free throws, and freshman forward Mike Navar (Chino, Calif./Chino Hills H.S.) hit a pair of short jump shots during the run.
Helms and Charles King each scored 14 points in the contest, and Helms hit 4 of his 6 shots and made all six of his free throws, gathered seven rebounds and blocked one shot, while King hit one three-pointer, 5 of 7 free throws, and had 2 rebounds and one steal. Junior forward Jordan Block (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont H.S./Pasadena City College) totaled 13 points, 11 in the second half, hit 6 of his 9 shots and had two rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot, and Navar finished with 12 points on 6 of 9 field goals and grabbed eight rebounds. Cornelius totaled 11 points, all in the first half, 2 three-pointers, four rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals, and junior guard Mason Jones (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View H.S./Eastern Oregon Univ.) added 10 points on 4 of 5 shots and one three-pointer, and passed two assists.
Senior guard A.J. Koch (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells H.S.) finished with seven points, one three-pointer, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, and moved into ninth place on Arizona Christian's career scoring list with 1130 points in 98 career games (2009-13). Junior guard Greg Womack (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North H.S./Maryland-Eastern Shore) contributed five points, one three-pointer, five rebounds and two assists off the Arizona Christian bench.
Three Hawks scored 10 or more points, led by guard Derrick Thompson with 14 points on 6 of 7 field goals and one three-pointer, and reserve forward Andy Saharan with 12 points, 2 three-pointers, five rebounds and one assist. Forward Peter Beale-Wirsing finished with 10 points and three rebounds, and guard Kevin Dawson added nine points, made all five of his free throws, and had one blocked shot and one steal before fouling out with 6:24 left in the second half. Guard Derek Dickerson scored eight points and hit one three-pointer, and had two assists.
The Firestorm made 34 of their 63 shots (.540) in the game and went 7-for-16 from three-point range (.438), and 15-for-21 from the free throw line (.714) and out-rebounded San Diego Christian, 38-27. Arizona Christian committed 11 turnovers, blocked four SDC shots and stole the ball six times. San Diego Christian made 26 of its 55 shots (.473), 6 of 22 three-pointers (.273) and 16 of 22 free throws (.727), committed 16 turnovers, which Arizona Christian turned into 26 gift points, stole the ball six times and blocked four Arizona Christian shots.
Coached by Jeff Rutter, Arizona Christian hosts its next GSAC game at Fultz Memorial Gym, Saturday, January 26, against the NAIA's number six team and GSAC leader, Westmont College (17-3, 5-0 GSAC), at 7:30 p.m. Westmont won 75-71 at The Master's College (12-8, 1-4 GSAC) in its most recent game on Tuesday. The Arizona Christian women's basketball team hosts number nine Westmont College in the first game of Saturday's GSAC doubleheader at 5:30 p.m., in Fultz Gym.