California Baptist University shot 55.8 percent, had three in double figures and nearly led wire-to-wire in an 81-69 win over Azusa Pacific in the first-ever Pacific West Conference meeting between the longtime rivals, who met for the first time after a yearlong hiatus while CBU transitioned to the PacWest last year.
Now, with Azusa Pacific's move into the PacWest this year, the rivalry has been reborn and if tonight is any indication, it will continue to be a good one.
"They have a great history and even though the names may change, they're still really good every year," said CBU Head Coach Tim Collins, referring to his counterpart 35 miles down the road. "You have to bring tons of energy to have a chance to beat them, and I thought we did tonight. We haven't beaten them in a long time, so we'll enjoy this one."
The win snaps the Lancers' seven-game losing streak to the Cougars dating back to 2008 and is their first over Azusa Pacific at home since Feb. 23, 2007. The Lancers improve to 9-4 overall, 3-2 PacWest with their second straight win.
The Cougars fall to 6-7, 3-2.
Fisk made nine of 11 shots from the floor and also had seven rebounds and four steals. But his biggest play of the night came midway through the second half that for all intents and purposes put the game out of reach.
With the Lancers leading 53-43, Anthony Cosentino blocked Kevin Stafford's layup attempt and the Lancers were off and running. Anthony Romero grabbed the rebound and lobbed a pass for Fisk for a thunderous alley-oop that finished a 13-5 Lancer spurt and turned a four-point lead into a 55-43 advantage with 10:47 to play. It sent the raucous CBU Crazies into a frenzy.
Three minutes later, Fisk hit just his second 3-pointer of the season, this one from the corner in front of the Lancer bench, to push the lead to 60-47, their largest of the half. It was that kind of night for the senior, who had 16 of his points in the second half.
"Andrew broke his foot last year and we missed him the last 10 games," said Collins. "He's way more comfortable this year, and he's playing really well. He had a big night tonight."
The Lancers led 68-57 with 2:02 to play when the Cougars began to chip away, getting within five points with 35 seconds left, but the Lancers made nine of 11 free throws in the final minute to keep the Cougars at a distance.
Cosentino finished with18 points, making all four of his first-half shots to key an 11-point half that got the Lancers off and running from the start.
Azusa Pacific made the first bucket of the game, but Fisk and Cosentino made back-to-back buckets and the Lancers led the rest of the way. They led by as many as 15 points, taking a 33-18 lead on a Romero triple with 7:56 to play.
B.J. Porter led the Cougars with 18 points, and Troy Leaf finished with 16, but the duo combined to go 10 for 26 from the floor.
"Those two guys are such good shooters," said Collins. "But I thought overall we did a good job defensively and did a good job in the paint."
The Lancers, the PacWest's best rebounding team, out-rebounded the Cougars 41-28 and out-scored them 32-20 in the paint.