YUMA, Ariz. – In a matchup of two of the top teams in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, regulation wasn’t enough. Phoenix College took an early lead in overtime, and the Arizona Western College men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome missed shots to fall 86-81 on Saturday night in Yuma. The game featured 19 lead changes and 18 ties.
After AWC’s (20-5 overall, 13-4 ACCAC) Andre Jones missed a dunk at the start of overtime, Phoenix (20-5 overall, 13-4 ACCAC) got an open three from Reilly Goulet to drop for a 78-75 lead. Rashaad Goolsby followed it up with two free throws for the eighth-ranked Bears to extend the lead to 80-75. Goolsby had 15 points.
The 25-ranked Mats had a couple of great chances over the next minute to climb back into it. Daryl Adams and Brandon McGhee went 2-4 at the free throw line to cut the lead to 80-77, but the Mats grabbed offensive rebounds off misses. McGhee missed a layup that would have made it a one point game, and Phoenix’s Lavette Parker drilled a three to push the lead to 83-77 with 1:30 to play. Parker had 13 points for PC.
Phoenix pushed the lead to 84-77 after a free throw with 59 seconds left. Jones attacked the basket and knocked down a layup with 30 seconds to play to cut the lead to 84-79. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds and went 10-10 at the free throw line. Avonte Nelms knocked down two free throws to push the Phoenix lead back to seven.
Adams hit a layup with less than 10 seconds to play that cut the lead to 86-81. Parker missed two free throws for Phoenix, but the Mats couldn’t get a shot to drop in the final five seconds.
Both teams went at it right from the opening tip. Jones put the Matadors up first with a two-handed slam one minute into the game. Tyler Motley put AWC up 6-2 with a jumper a few possessions later, but Phoenix rattled off six straight to take an 8-6 lead.
Torin Webb stopped the run by knocking down a pull-up jumper from 15 feet to tie the game at eight. A few minutes later, Burke Twyman drained a three to put AWC up 13-12 off a nice pass from Dajuan Beard.
Phoenix responded by retaking the lead. A few possessions later Davis Wade hit a three to put the Bears up 20-15. Beard answered with back-to-back three’s for AWC to retake the lead, 21-20. He finished with 15 points.
The two sides traded the lead over the next several minutes. Daryl Adams bookended a 10-3 AWC spurt with three’s for a 34-28 lead with 4:20 to go in the half. He led the Matadors with 22 points.
The Bears scored seven straight with a Goulet three putting PC up 35-34 near the end of the half. Beard poked the ball away for a steal and layup and one-point lead, but Goolsby knocked down a free throw to make it 36-all at the half.
In the second half, the Matadors opened up an early five point lead. Adams hit two three’s, and Jones knocked down two free throws as AWC led 44-39. Phoenix tied the game at 44 apiece with five straight a few possessions later.
Quinton Johnson put Phoenix up 54-49 with 13 minutes to go in regulation, but Beard came right back with five quick points for AWC. Neither side would lead by more than one possession for the remainder of regulation.
Johnathan Matthews keyed Phoenix down the stretch in regulation, hitting three three’s and scoring 14 of his 25 points after halftime.
Meanwhile, the Matadors had eight players score in the second half. With less than five minutes to play, Adams knocked down a three to put the Mats up 69-67. Rees Plummer answered on the following possession with a two that tied the game again. Plummer followed it up with an open three to put Phoenix up by three with 3:20 left.
McGhee knifed into the lane and hit a layup while drawing a foul. He hit the free throw to tie things at 72.
With 1:40 to go, Twyman caught a pass from McGhee and sank a straightaway three to put AWC up 75-72. Matthews was able to get open for a three of his own that tied the game back up at 75 with 54 seconds left.
AWC came up with a defensive stop with five seconds to play and had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Webb missed from the corner to send the game into overtime.
The Matadors head out to Central Arizona College on Wednesday, February 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm, and the game will be broadcast on 560 AM KBLU.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.