PHOENIX, Ariz. --- No. 16 Arizona Christian University finished its regular season recognizing 10 seniors and taking revenge on the Eagles of Concordia with a 75-71 victory.
On a day where the Firestorm honored 10 seniors (Mason Jones, Kyli Crooms, Greg Womack, Rod Hudson, Talib Uqdah, Jordan Block, Paul King, Derek James, Daniel Cornelius, and Mateus Oliveira), the tension of the game could not be higher.
A win would secure ACU as the No. 2 seed in the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament allowing them to host the first playoff game on Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. A loss would put ACU in a bunch a different scenarios that could see the Firestorm fall to the No. 3 seed.
The game started with the score tying on three separate occasions in the first five minutes as both teams traded points back and forth.
The fourth tie was reached at the 12:49 mark to bring the score even at 15-15. After that tie, both teams were unable to make a dent on the scoreboard as three minutes passed without a made basket.
The Firestorm stopped the drought after Mike Navar gathered a steal and found Block on the outlet to complete the fast break layup. The Block layup sparked a 13-6 Firestorm run that saw ACU take an 11-point edge at the half, 41-30.
ACU capitalized on its shooting going into the break with a 53.8 percent clip from the floor, while holding the Eagles to 33.3 percent shooting. The Firestorm found a lot of its efforts from the 3-point line as they shot 60 percent with Uqdah leading the charge, going 3-for-4.
ACU opened up the second half keeping the Eagles at arm's length to hold onto its comfortable double-digit lead. The defense on both ends continued to be a factor as only one basket was made from 14:05 to 10:47.
The next nine minutes of the game the Firestorm found them self on the free throw line 14 times. Uqdah reached the charity stripe 10 times and went 6-for-10 in the final minutes.
The Eagles slowly started to chip away at the Firestorm lead cutting the deficit to three after going on an 11-2 run in the last five minutes. With the lead now cut to three, the Firestorm spent the remainder of the game on the free throw line. In fact, the last ACU basket came at the 9:16 mark from a Navar layup.
With anticipation in the air and the crowd on its feet giving the visiting team its monies worth, the Eagles trailed by two with nine seconds on the game clock. On the Eagles final possession Kiefer Douse drove the lane to find a set Mike Navar, who drew the charge and put the ball back in the hands of ACU.
Jones would seal the deal knocking down both free throws to take the 4-point victory over Concordia.
With the win, ACU continues its most wins in a single season with an overall record of 23-6 (9-5 GSAC). The loss drops the Eagles to 19-11 (6-8 GSAC), where their seeding will rest on how the rest of the GSAC finishes up.
ACU finished the night shooting 48.9 percent from the floor, while dominating the boards out-rebounding the Eagles 42-32.
Uqdah led all scorers with 25 points, as it was only fitting with it being senior day. Newman finished the game with 13 points and tallied a career high six assists.
Concordia was led by DeLaun Frazier who recorded 16 points.
ACU will host its first playoff game on March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fultz Memorial Gymnasium with the opponent waiting to be named.