PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona Christian University (10-1) led by at least nine points during the last 25:44 of action and reached its widest advantage of the game, 73-49, with 4:50 left in its 76-57 non-conference men's basketball victory over Jamestown College (7-9), from North Dakota, Monday, December 31, at ACU's Fultz Memorial Gymnasium. The Firestorm recorded its second win in two days over Jamestown – ACU came back from 14 points down to defeat the Jimmies, 64-59, Sunday afternoon, Dec. 30.
Coached by Jeff Rutter, ACU won its seventh consecutive game, and its 10 wins in its first 11 games is the best start in its men's basketball history. ACU returns to action on Saturday, January 5, in a 1 p.m. game against South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, at Fultz Memorial Gymnasium in Phoenix (please note the time change for the Jan. 5 home game).
Arizona Christian continues to rank number two in the NAIA Division I and number one in the National Christian College Athletics Association Division I in free throw percentage (.802), and junior guard Charles King (Houston, Tex./Stephen F. Austin H.S./Phoenix College) ranks number five in the NAIA with a .907 free throw percentage (39-43) with senior guard A.J. Koch (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells H.S.) in number six position with a .894 free throw mark (42-47). Arizona Christian also ranks ninth in the NAIA in total rebound margin (8.7 rebounds per game). Koch also ranks number three in the NAIA in three-point field goal percentage, making 22 of 42 (.524).
Jamestown led 19-10 with 13:55 to go in the first half, but Arizona Christian rallied with a 32-5 run over the next 11 minutes and led 42-24 with 2:51 left in the first half. Junior guard Mason Jones (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View H.S./Eastern Oregon Univ.) scored the last 10 points of the run as Arizona Christian advanced its lead from eight points to 18.
The Firestorm led 44-31 at halftime, paced by junior guard Jordan Block (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont H.S./Pasadena City College), Arizona Christian's leading scorer, who scored 13 in the first half. Guard Mark Hoge led Jamestown with 10 first-half points. Arizona Christian shot .484 from the field in the first half (15-31), and made 5 of 13 three-pointers (l.385) and 9 of 10 free throws (.900), while Jamestown made 11 of 30 (.367) and just 2 of 12 from three-point range (.167) and 7 of 9 free throws (.778).
Arizona Christian continued its double digit lead in the second half until Jamestown sliced the margin to 54-45, with 13:45 left in the game, but Arizona Christian stretched the lead to 24 points, 73-49, with 4:50 left. King totaled 13 points, and Koch scored seven in the second half. Jamestown shot just .205 from the field (8-39) in the second half.
King led Arizona Christian with 21 points, 2 three-pointers and 7 of 7 free throws, two rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and two steals, and Block totaled 18 points, 2 three-pointers, eight rebounds, three assists and one steal. Koch and Jones finished with 10 points each, and Jones added one three-pointer, went 5-for-5 from the free throw line, blocked three blocked and had two steals, while Koch had 2 three-pointers, went 4-for-4 from the free throw line, and gathered 5 rebounds and passed three assists. Freshman forward Jackson Helms (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley H.S.) contributed seven points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots, and freshman forward Mike Navar (Chino, Calif./Chino Hills H.S.) gave Arizona Christian six points, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots.
Hoge, Jamestown's leading scorer at over 20 points per game, finished with 21 points, 5 three-pointers, six rebounds and two steals, and freshman forward Dan Janu added eight points, five rebounds and one steal. Reserve forward Beny Collins totaled eight points, five rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal, and guards Andre Maund and Breshion Tucker contributed six points each.
The Firestorm made 24 of their 55 shots (.436) in the game and went 8-for-22 from three-point range (.364), and 20-for-24 from the free throw line (.833), and committed 16 turnovers, out-rebounded Jamestown, 47-38, blocked a season-high 11 shots, and stole the ball five times from the Jimmies. Jamestown made 19 of its 69 shots (.275), 6 of 27 three-pointers (.222) and 13 of 17 free throws (.765), committed 13 turnovers, blocked four Arizona Christian shots and stole the ball 11 times from Arizona Christian.