PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona Christian University led by as many as 16 points in the first half and 21 points in the second half of its 89-74 home non-conference men's basketball victory over La Sierra University (3-11) from Riverside, California, Thursday, Dec. 20, in Fultz Memorial Gymnasium. Arizona Christian won its fourth consecutive game and improved its season record to 7-1.
Coached by Jeff Rutter, Arizona Christian gradually stretched its lead, reaching a double-digit lead, 22-11 with 9:57 left in the first half, and led 29-13, with 7:18 remaining. La Sierra closed the gap to six points, 38-32, with 57 seconds left, but Arizona Christian rebuilt the lead to 42-32 with nine seconds to go. Arizona Christian maintained at least a 10-point lead throughout the second half and reached its widest margin of the game, 64-43, at the 12:13 mark after a 13-2 run over a four-minute span.
Junior guard Jordan Block (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont H.S./Pasadena City College) led Arizona Christian in scoring with 18 points, 12 in the second half, and also gathered 11 rebounds, passed two assists, blocked one shot and stole the ball once. Reserve forward Daniel Cornelius (Phoenix, Ariz./Phoenix Christian H.S.) contributed 16 points, 2 three-pointers, 4-for-4 free throws, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots, and senior guard A.J. Koch (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells H.S.) added 14 points, 3 three-pointers, two rebounds, four assists and one steal. Junior guard Charles King (Houston, Tex./Stephen F. Austin H.S./Phoenix College) also scored 14 points and hit 3 three-pointers, gathered six rebounds and stole the ball three times, and junior guard Mason Jones (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View H.S./Eastern Oregon Univ.) finished with 10 points, 2 three-pointers, two rebounds, six assists and one steal. Freshman forward Mike Navar (Chino, Calif./Chino Hills H.S.) gave Arizona Christian 10 points, eight in the first half, and five rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Guard Ben Shaw led all scorers in the game with 19 points and had 2 three-pointers, three assists and two steals, and reserve guards Isaiah Hawkins and Marcos Hazelwood added 12 points each. Hawkins hit 2 three-pointers and had 5 rebounds, five assists and two steals, and Hazelwood went 8-for-10 from the free throw line. Center Carleton Coleman contributed 7 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.
The Firestorm made 29 of their 66 shots (.439) for the game and made 11-29 from three-point range (.379), and 20 of 25 free throws (.800), and committed 16 turnovers. Arizona Christian also out-rebounded La Sierra, 46-37, with 14 offensive rebounds, blocked four shots and stole the ball eight times from the Eagles. La Sierra made 25 of its 62 shots (.403), 4 of 21 three-pointers (.190) and 20 of 29 free throws (.690), committed 14 turnovers, blocked two shots and stole the ball eight times from Arizona Christian.
Arizona Christian, which ranks number one in the National Christian College Athletics Association (NCCAA) and second among all NAIA Division I members in team free throw percentage (.803), returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 22, in a 4 p.m. game against the University of Great Falls (Montana) at Scottsdale Community College.