The loss is the Lancers' first conference play as they fall to 4-2-1 overall, 2-1 (6 points) PacWest. The Cougars improve to 4-2-1, 2-1 (6 points)
CBU made it hard on themselves all night, playing catch-up, rallying from one-goal deficits twice and also missing a handful of prime opportunities after gaining a man advantage with 27 minutes left and trailing 2-1.
In the end, it cost them.
With the game tied 2-2, Michael Salazar got in behind the defense twice in a three-minute span, but was thwarted both times. Then, with seven minutes left, the Cougars got a corner kick. Keenan Armbrust one-time volleyed it, but Joey Pacheco dove to push it wide. As the ball was played back in the box, Carlos Figueroa was called for a foul at the top of the area.
Bulut stepped up and drilled the penalty kick just inside the left post.
It turned out to be the game-winner.
In what turned out to be a back-and-forth affair, the Cougars struck first in the 21st minute when Bulut picked up a loose ball from a pack of players and snuck in a shot to the far post, past a screened Pacheco.
The Lancers drew level in the 23rd minute. Jonathan Garcia found Jonathan Fausto unmarked right in the middle of the park. Fausto took a touch and rifled a shot from 23 yards out to Joe Geletko's right and into the net, and it stayed that way to the intermission.
Azusa Pacific outshot the Cougars 9-3 in the first, putting five of them on frame. The Lancers only had one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes. It was a big one.
Just out of halftime, Azusa Pacific pounced on giveaway by the Lancer defense in the 50th minute. Bulut slid a ball from the left side of the area to the middle where Armbrust finished for a 2-1 Cougar advantage.
With 27 left, Salazar was taken down in the box by Geletko, who was shown a straight red card. Alex Anderson drilled the ensuing penalty kick to equalize.
The Lancers had a man advantage the rest of the way and had a handful of chances. In the 87th minute, Dominic Escalera headed a ball towards the goal, but a Cougar defender headed it off the line and away from danger.
The Cougars out-shot the Lancers 19-9 and it was the first time since the final game of 2010 the Lancers have allowed three goals in a game. Pacheco finished with eight saves.