PHOENIX, Ariz. ---No. 8 Arizona Christian University opened up the 2014 year on the right track Thursday night, as the Firestorm defeated the Eagles of Northern New Mexico College, 81-69.
The Eagles entered tonight's contest at 10-9 and will fall to .500 with a 10-10 record. Meanwhile, the Firestorm improves its record to 14-1 and remains undefeated at home (8-0).
Both teams traded points early on in the game, but ACU's Jordan Block went on a 6-0 run against NNMC from 12:59 to 11:39 sparking a momentum shift in the first half. Mason Jones would hit a 3-pointer on the next possession after Block created a steal and Uqdah would hit his second three of the game giving the Firestorm a two point edge at the 8:34 mark, 23-21.
ACU caused eight turnovers in the first half and held the Eagles scoreless in the last three minutes. The Firestorm went into the break up by six, 34-28, and recorded 11 bench points.
The Firestorm finished the first half shooting 44.8 percent from the field, while the Eagles shot 34.4 percent.
After the break, ACU got hot from beyond the arc as Uqdah and Brandon Newman went 3-for-3 in the first four minutes of the game. In fact, Uqdah went a perfect 4-for-4 from the 3-point line and finished with 18 points in the second half.
ACU continued its dominance in the second half going on a 14-0 run from 8:44 to 4:54 to take a 20 point edge over the Eagles, 73-53.
ACU recorded a game high going 10-for-20 (50 percent) from beyond the arc. The Firestorm finished the game shooting 50 percent from the floor, while the Eagles finished the game shooting 41.5 percent.
The Firestorm out-rebounded the Eagles 44-35 and caused the Eagles to turn the ball over 13 times.
ACU's Uqdah finished the game with a season high 30 points going 9-for-13 from the field, 7-for-9 from the 3-point line and 5-for-8 from the charity stripe. Mateus Oliveira recorded his second double-double on the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Block finished the game with 13 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes of play.
ACU will travel to California next week where it will face No. 5 Concordia University on Jan. 16 at 7:30pm (Arizona Time) and the Master's College on Jan. 18 at 4:00pm (Arizona Time).