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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NAIA TOURNAMENT : Earlier Losses Pay Dividends for Azusa Pacific

March 17, 1994|ARA NAJARIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

TULSA, Okla. — Only in winning can the lessons of losing be appreciated.

So, when Azusa Pacific's basketball team defeated Transylvania of Kentucky, 76-73, in a first-round game of the NAIA tournament Wednesday, its players had knowledge aplenty.

Knowledge that came from losing to Westmont in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament final.

Knowledge from losing in the first round of the NAIA tournament as the second-seeded team last season.

"I guess last year we kind of overlooked (No. 31-seeded Minnesota Morris), so this year we knew that every team here was here for a reason," said forward Ronnie Winbush, who scored 17 points. "The Westmont loss helped instead of hurt. We learned we have to stay in control and not try to get everything back at once when we get down."

Azusa Pacific wasn't down often against Transylvania, but neither could the Cougars pull comfortably away.

Azusa Pacific's biggest lead was seven, and the game was not in hand until the Cougars' Paul White knocked down Transylvania's John Mark Stuart as he shot with only a few seconds to play.

Because of the contact, the ball fell well short of the basket and Azusa Pacific ran out the final four seconds. Despite the contact, no call was made.

Raymond Tutt scored 18 points to lead Azusa Pacific and Scott Day added 15.

Azusa Pacific (29-4) will play defending champion Hawaii Pacific (26-7) today in the second round. Hawaii Pacific defeated the Cougars, 115-98, last December in Hawaii.

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