Fresno - Four players on each team reached double figures in scoring, but it was a clutch play by Rudy Lopez that pushed the Sunbirds to a 72-67 win over the visiting Dominican University Penguins tonight in the Special Events Center.
Lopez, a senior forward from Watsonville, California, nailed a 3-pointer, was fouled, and converted the free throw with 2:06 to play to extend FPU's narrow 62-61 lead to five points (66-61).
The Penguins would draw no closer than four points (68-64 with 1:29 to play) the rest of the way.
"We beat a good team tonight and we did it with a good team effort," said FPU first year head coach Clark Sheehy.
Lopez finished with 17 points to lead FPU, now 2-1 on the season. Lopez also pulled down nine rebounds.
Lesego Molebatsi notched a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Moustafa El Zanaty added 12 points, while Josh Urbiztondo chipped in with 11.
David Moore, and first team All-America last season as a junior, led the Penguins (1-2) with 22 points and seven rebounds. Alex Thomas (16 points), Steve Johnson and Tommy Stondgroth (both with 11 points) also reached double figures.
FPU closed the first half with an 18-5 run that not only erased a 23-17 Dominican lead, it put the hosts up 35-28 at the break.
FPU extended the lead to 10 points (52-42) with 12 minutes to play, but a, quick, 11-0 run made it 53-52 Penguins with 8:30 left on the clock.
Urbiztondo's 2-pointer four minutes later pushed FPU's lead back to five points (62-57), but consecutive baskets by Thomas and Moore closed it down to a single digit (62-61). That set the table for Lopez' key 4-point play.
"Our guys had a great attitude on the bench," continued Sheehy. "We have some things to work on and we'll get better."
The next opportunity the Sunbirds have to follow Sheehy's advice is Monday when they host Golden State Baptist. Tip-off time in the Special Events Center is 7:00 p.m.
Fresno Pacific: 2-1
Sunbirds will host Golden State Baptist Monday, November 21. Tip-off time in the Special Events Center is 7:00 p.m.
Fresno Pacific University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation. Each year more than 2,000 traditional and adult students attend classes on the 42-acre main campus in southeast Fresno or centers in Visalia and Bakersfield. The university also reaches 12,000 students across the nation and around the world through professional development studies programs. The only four-year Christian university in the Central Valley, FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked in the top quarter among Western universities master's category by U.S. News & World Report.