Junior Morgan scored a game-high 24 points and pulled in nine rebounds to lead the Sea Lions (17-11). Hayden Lescault also added 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting and Sam Okhotin hit four 3-pointers to notch 12 points.
It was the defensive effort of the Sea Lions which set the tone in the game early and allowed them to hold a double-figure lead throughout most of the contest. PLNU scored the first five points of the game and went up 13-3 on a Junior Morgan layup less than seven minutes into the game. The Cougars hit just one of their first five shots and committed three turnovers in that span.
After an APU (17-10) basket and a pair of free throws the Cougars cut the Sea Lions’ lead back to six (13-7) but PLNU answered with a 14-5 run and it took a 37-24 lead into the locker room. Midway through the second half APU would make its run by scoring seven straight points to cut the lead to five (44-39) but once again PLNU answered the run. Lescault hit a 3 and Morgan made a jumper on consecutive possessions to extend the lead back to 10 (49-39).
Azusa would never again really threaten Point Loma’s lead. It cut PLNU’s advantage to nine at 58-49 with six minutes left but the Sea Lions then scored nine straight points (five from Marek Klassen and four from Morgan) to put the game out of reach at 67-48 with just over four minutes remaining.
Robert Sandoval led four Cougars in double-figures with 17 points. Troy Leaf also had 15 and Jared Zoller came off the bench with 13.
This was the third time this season that Point Loma and Azusa Pacific had faced. The first two came in conference play where APU won the contest at Point Loma 75-74 on a Sharif Watson layup with 0.4 seconds remaining. Then off the game at APU went two overtimes with the Cougars edging the Sea Lions 87-84.
HAYDEN LESCAULT VOTED PacWest NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Point Loma junior guard Hayden Lescault has been voted as the 2013-14 Pacific West Conference Newcomer of the Year and named to the second team all-conference by the league’s coaches. Lescault was also joined on the All-PacWest team by honorable mention selections Marek Klassen and Junior Morgan.
Lescault led the Sea Lions and ranked eighth in the PacWest with 17.3 points per game while shooting 52 percent from the field. He was also fourth in the league in steals (1.78) and 10th in assists (3.62). Lescault even stepped up his performance in league games where he averaged 18.5 ppg to rank fourth in the PacWest. He scored in double-figures in 23 of 27 games, including reaching the 20-plateau 12 times and the 30-point mark twice.
Morgan, a junior from Bakersfield, Calif., was second on PLNU with 13.7 ppg. He ranked 19th in the league in points and 10th in rebounds (6.6). Klassen averaged 12.8 points per game and shot 41 percent from 3-point range during his junior campaign.
FOUR PLNU WOMEN NAMED TO ALL-PacWest TEAM
Four members of the Point Loma women’s basketball team were voted to the All-Pacific West Conference team by the league’s coaches. Callie Rhoads, Savannah Erskine and Jessica Escorza all earned second team honors, while Abby Boorman was voted to the third team.
This is the second straight year Rhoads has earned All-PacWest second team honors. She finished eighth in the league with 14.1 points per game. She was third in the league with a .428 shooting percentage from long range and fourth with 62 3-point baskets on the season.
Escorza earned second team honors this year after being placed on the honorable mention team last season. Despite playing in just over half the conference games, the junior forward was recognized by the conference coaches for her impact on the court. She led PLNU with 16.6 ppg, which would have ranked her third in the PacWest, while averaging 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Savannah Erskine earned all-conference honors for the first time in her career after leading the PacWest in both steals (3.89) and assists (6.22). She averaged 11.1 points per game to rank 24th in the league.
Abby Boorman capped off a fantastic senior season with a selection to the All-PacWest third team. The forward from Reno, Nevada paced the conference with 2.8 blocks per game and was fifth with 8.6 rebounds. She finished the season with six double-doubles.