PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona Christian University (2-0) defeated Chapman University (1-1), 81-63, in its 2012-13 home men's basketball opener at Fultz Memorial Gymnasium, Tuesday, November 20, and ended a 20-game losing streak against the Panthers dating back to the 1994-95 season. Arizona Christian led 40-33 at halftime and outscored Chapman, 41-30, in the second half.
Chapman dominated Arizona Christian, known as Southwestern College until 2011, by double-digit margins in 17 of the 20 contests between 1994 and 2012. Arizona Christian lost at Chapman by a scant 81-78 margin on Jan. 14, 1999, the narrowest losing margin, and lost nine-point decisions in 1998 and 2011. Arizona Christian lost to the Panthers, 89-56, at Arizona Christian, and 71-59, at Chapman last season.
The Firestorm led 40-30 with 12 seconds left in the first half, and built its lead to 19 points, 61-42, midway through the second 20-minute half and maintained at double-digit lead the rest of the game. Arizona Christian made it possible to preserve its lead by committing just three turnovers in each half.
Arizona Christian made 31 of 68 field goals (.456), including 16 of 32 (.500) in the second half, drilled 4 of 14 from three-point range (.286) and 15 of 18 free throws (.833), including 9 of 10 in the first half. The Firestorm controlled the boards, 41-27, and gathered 19 offensive rebounds, passed 19 assists, and stole the ball six times. Arizona Christian committed just six turnovers in the game.
Chapman made 21 of 49 shots (.429), but fell off to .333 (9 of 27) in the second half after shooting .545 (12-22) in the first half. The Panthers made 5 of 12 three-pointers (.417) and 16 of 21 free throws (.762), committed 12 turnovers, eight in the first half, and blocked six Arizona Christian shots.
Five Arizona Christian players reached double figures in points, led off the bench by junior guard Jordan Block (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont H.S./Pasadena City College) who scored 23 points, 13 in the second half, and made all 9 of his 15 shots and five of his free throw tries, gathered seven rebounds, passed two assists and had one steal. Senior guard A.J. Koch (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells H.S.) contributed 13 points, 2 three-pointers, four rebounds, four assists and one steal, and sophomore forward Bryant Avent (Phoenix, Ariz./Valley Christian H.S.) also scored 13 points, 10 in the second half, hit a three-pointer, and had four rebounds and one steal.
Freshman forward Jackson Helms (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley H.S.) finished with finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, including six offensive boards, made 5 of 6 shots and had three assists and one steal, and junior guard Charles King (Houston, Tex./Stephen F. Austin H.S./Phoenix College) added 10 points and one steal. Junior forward Daniel Cornelius (Phoenix, Ariz./Phoenix Christian H.S.) added seven points.
Sophomore guard Taylor Hamasaki led Chapman with 14 points, seven in each half, and had one blocked shot and one steal, and forwards Nick Dragovich and Justin Young contributed 10 points and five rebounds and nine points and six rebounds respectively off the Panthers' bench. Guard Colin Zvarsnick scored nine points and had one three-pointer, two assists, two blocked shots and one steal.
Arizona Christian, led by first-year head coach Jeff Rutter, hits the road during Thanksgiving Weekend for a pair of games at the Lamont Ramsey Classic, hosted by Menlo College in Atherton, California, Nov. 23-24. The Firestorm takes on Menlo College, Friday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. Arizona time, Friday, and California State University-Maritime on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 3 p.m.; Arizona time.