SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Junior guard Charles King (Houston, Tex./Stephen F. Austin H.S./Phoenix College) drilled 6 three-pointers, made all 10 of his free throws and totaled a season-high 32 points as Arizona Christian University defeated the University of Great Falls (Mont.), 80-66 in non-conference men's basketball action, Saturday, December 22, at Scottsdale Community College.
The first half included five ties and four lead changes, and Great Falls led by five points, 15-10, with 11:50 left in the first half. The score was tied at 24 with 5:57 left when ACU began a 10-2 run over the next 3:05 and took a 34-26 lead, its biggest lead of the first half, on a three-pointer by King, who totaled 21 points and 5 three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. The Firestorm led 37-32 at the intermission and made 7 three-pointers and all eight of its free throws, while the Argos made 3 three-pointers and went 7 of 11 from the charity line.
ACU attempted just 18 shots in the second half but made 13 (.722), including 3 three-pointers, and made 14 of its 21 second-half free throws. The Firestorm led by no fewer than 14 points during the last 7:29 and stretched their lead to 20 points, 80-60, with 1:50 remaining.
King went 8-for-11 from the field, 6-for-9 from three-point range, and 10-for-10 from the free throw line, totaling 32 points, and also gathered a team-high eight rebounds. Freshman forward Jackson Helms (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley H.S.) finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot, and senior guard A.J. Koch (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells H.S.) added 12 points, going 3-for-4 from three-point range and 3-for-3 from the free throw line and also had five rebounds and one steal. Junior guard Jordan Block (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont H.S./Pasadena City College), ACU's leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, contributed 11 points, seven rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal, and junior guard Mason Jones (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View H.S./Eastern Oregon Univ.) finished with six points, one three-pointer, two rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Starting guard T.J. Harris scored 16 points, 12 in the first half, and made 4 three-pointers, and reserve guard Isaac Howard also scored 16 points, 12 in the second half, and made 4 three-pointers. Harris also grabbed three rebounds and had two steals, and Howard had two steals. Guard Marcel Towns added 14 points on 7 of 14 field goals, but missed all five of his three-point attempts, and contributed six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Guard Miguel Bocachica scored seven points with 2 three-pointers, three rebounds and two assists.
The Firestorm made 24 of their 46 shots (.522) for the game and went 10-for-21 from three-point range (.476), and 22-for-29 from the free throw line (.759), and committed 13 turnovers, out-rebounded Great Falls, 39-31, blocked two shots and stole the ball four times from the Argos. Great Falls made 23 of its 62 shots (.371), 10 of 26 three-pointers (.385) and 10 of 17 free throws (.588), committed 12 turnovers, blocked two shots and stole the ball nine times from ACU.
Coached by Jeff Rutter, ACU won its fifth consecutive game and improved its season record to 8-1, and Great Falls fell to 9-7. With eight wins in its first nine games, ACU has recorded the best start for a men's basketball season in its history. The 1986-87 team went 7-2 in its first nine games and finished 18-9.
ACU, 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 (.797), returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Dec. 31 for a pair of 3 p.m. games against Jamestown College from North Dakota in Fultz Memorial Gym on the ACU campus.