The men’s and women’s basketball teams at California Baptist University played against PacWest Conference rival Azusa Pacific University Jan, 13 where the women lost 55-77 and the men held their lead in the final stretch with the score ending 75-69.
In the women’s game, APU started out with the early advantage as they led 15-13 by the end of the first quarter. APU then increased the deficit to 39-23 by halftime.
CBU’s struggles continued into the second half when the score was 59-40 in APU’s favor by the end of the third quarter. CBU continued to trail until the end of the game.
Despite the loss, CBU women came out very strong defensively.
The Lancers managed to beat APU 50-38 in rebounds. The women’s basketball players who led in rebounds for the game were Tori Mitchell, senior kinesiology major and center, and Emily Schmidt, senior early childhood studies major and guard/forward, with eight rebounds each.
The following men’s game was a close affair with CBU gaining an early 39-30 lead by the end of the first half. However, the game went back and forth during the last three minutes of the game, with the Lancers ultimately gaining a well-deserved victory over APU.
With the transition of the athletic programs at CBU from NCAA Division II to Division I, this marks the last season that CBU Lancers basketball plays against APU as conference opponents at home.
The first meeting between the CBU men’s basketball team and APU took place during the 1957-58 basketball
season. The first recorded game between the Lancers and APU was Feb. 13, 1968 at home. However, the Lancers lost that game with a final score of 94-62. The men’s basketball team’s overall record against Azusa Pacific University is 44-90.
The first meeting between the CBU women’s basketball team and APU took place Jan. 15, 1980. The Lancers lost with a final score of 42-58.
During the same season, the Lancers women’s basketball team played against APU at home Jan. 31, but took a 57-87 loss. The women’s record against Azusa Pacific University is 39-57.
Rick Croy, head coach of the men’s basketball team, said there were some things the Lancers wanted to do against APU, but did not accomplish.
“We were rushing things on offense that created good offense for them,” Croy said. “We stuck with it and (we) dig deep when things get tough and that is what we want to be about once we get into conference play.”
Croy also credited the crowd in that game for pulling the Lancers through for the win.
“We needed that energy,” Croy said. “I felt they were bringing it and we needed to reward CBU for that great effort.”
Croy also said he has respect for the way APU plays.
“It was a good win for us,” Croy said. “Even though it’s Azusa, all of the conference games count as one and that’s our focus.”
Despite securing the win, Croy said the team needs to improve on consistency on both offense and defense.
“We will have great possessions defensively and miss assignments,” Croy said. “Offensively, we’ll play really loose and then really tight. We’ve got to find a rhythm where guys know what to do and not think about it.”
Kalidou Diouf, senior journalism & new media major and center, said he thought he made the most impact defensively and rebounding the ball but could use improvement on his jump shot.
“I just got every rebound I could get. I also made sure the other team did not get too many offensive rebounds,” Diouf said. “I need to go back to the gym and work on my jump shot. I want to be able to guard all five positions on the court when I’m on defense.”
Like most players, Diouf said it felt good to earn a big win against close rivals.
“Going into these kinds of games you know it’s going to be tough,” Diouf said. “APU is never an easy game, they have good players and good coaches, so they always play hard and are ready to go.”
The women’s and men’s basketball teams will play against APU again on the road Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.