PHOENIX, Ariz. --- No. 16 Arizona Christian University traveled to the home of No. 25 Biola University Tuesday night, as the Firestorm handed the Eagles its second conference loss of the season at home.
With the win, the Firestorm have won the last four in a row and improve their record to 22-6 (8-5 GSAC). The 22 wins is the most in school history and Coach Rutter's 2013-14 team now holds the best single season record in the history of the university.
"Biola did a great job defending Talib tonight," said head coach Jeff Rutter. "They paid so much attention that it opened up some opportunities for some other guys. We began to get a rhythm in the second half and played much better on the offensive end. Mason was huge tonight. He hit a lot of big shots and provided some energy on defensive end."
The home team used its home crowd to its advantage taking an early five point lead after Dakari Archer made a pair on the free throw line. ACU's Mason Jones checked into the game at the 12:54 mark and made an instant impact. Jones knocked down his first three shots going 3-for-3 from the 3-point line to give the Firestorm their first lead of the game. After Jones perfect shooting in the first half the Firestorm held onto the lead to go into the break up by four, 30-26.
Jones led all scorers at the break with 11 points. ACU shot 33.3 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Eagles 22-18.
After the break, Biola would cut the deficit to one after a couple of free throws and took the lead after a jumper by Pierre Zook. The next nine minutes proved to be the most thrilling of the game as the lead was tied a total of eight times.
ACU went on a 7-0 run after the eighth tie, but Biola continued to be relentless answering every shot the Firestorm made.
The last minute of the game Biola pulled out all the stops as Archer hit two threes in the last 20 seconds of the game. Although the Eagles would get within two after Archer's three at :04 on the game clock, ACU's Brandon Newman hit both free throws to lift the Firestorm to a 4-point victory, 64-60.
"Biola started to take control of the game with their offensive rebounding in the second half but we were able to battle back and control the glass down the stretch," said Rutter. "Mateus barely played tonight with foul trouble, but made some huge plays on both ends to finish the game."
In the last minute, Newman went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe to keep the Eagles at arm's length.
Jones led all scorers on the night finishing with 18 points, going 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-9 from the 3-point line. Newman was the only other Firestorm player in double-digits with 16 points and brought down five rebounds.
"I'm very proud of this group of guys," said Rutter. "They have really become a tough, unselfish team and it's been a fun growth process to watch."
Biola was led by Archer (15 points) and Mike Kurtz (10 points). With the loss, the Eagles drop to 16-13 on the season and 6-7 in the GSAC.
ACU finished the game shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Eagles shot 30.6 percent from the field and a 23.5 percent clip from the 3-point line.
Arizona Christian will play its last regular season game on senior night against (RV) Concordia University on Mar. 1 at 4 p.m. (Arizona Time)