Crucial Match-Up for Mats at Pima

While in different positions when it comes to post-season positioning, both Matador Basketball teams with fast-paced, high octane offenses Wednesday night on the road against the Pima Community College Aztecs.

Both games can be heard on AM 560 KBLU in Yuma and streamed via livestream.com (quality and availability depending on internet connection) starting with the pre-game show at 5:20pm. Women scheduled for a 5:30pm tip and the Men will follow immediately after.

For the Matador men, they are in the place of the hunted regarding post-season positioning. At 16-5, and 10-3 in ACCAC play, Arizona Western begins a daunting three-game road trip tied for second place and a game behind conference leading Cochise.

The top six teams are separated by just three games with nine games left. All three of the Matadors opponents on the road trip are in that top six grouping.

That starts with a Pima team that is 9-4 and possesses what is possibly the best statistical offense in the conference. The Aztecs play at a break-neck pace, leading the conference in per game averages for points, rebounds, and assists.

They score in bunches, and then, score more.

Abram Carrasco is the Aztecs leading scorer at 21.7 ppg, hung 35 on the Matadors in the season’s early meeting, a Matador win. Carrasco is flanked by Kennedy Koehler, Robert Wilson, and Rashad Wilson who are all able and willing to shoot the ball.

The Aztecs lead the conference at 10 made three-pointers per game and have five different players who have made double-digits in three-pointers during conference play. The Matadors, by contrast, have three players who have made double-digit three-pointers all season.

But the Matadors have not been slouches in defending the three, the 2nd best defense by percentage in the conference at 30.7%. On top of that, the Matadors have succeeded at high volume scoring in a variety of ways.

Guards Bryson Langdon and Cash Williams are coming off a week in which they both notched their career high in points. Landgon had a monster week en route to his first ACCAC Player of the Week Honor after posting 25 points Wednesday against Central Arizona before his career high on Saturday against Tohono O’odham.

Williams was not too far behind, tallying his career mark on against Central with 27 points.

The Matadors and Aztecs will square off at 7:30pm in Tucson immediately following the Women’s game.

For the Lady Matadors, every game becomes crucial down the stretch and this stretch becomes exponentially tougher with the last three ACCAC Players of the Week in a four game period.

After seeing Central Arizona and Ayanna Clark last Wednesday, the Lady Mats start a difficult road trip against reining player of the week JJ Nakai and the Lady Aztecs of Pima.

Nakai tallied her 1,000 career point in a 83-76 win over Eastern Arizona in which she scored 35 points. Nakai is averaging a conference best 23.3 points per game while also doling out a conference leading 141 assists. Amazingly, she doesn’t turn the ball over much despite the high-usage averaging the best assist to turnover rate in the conference.

Next to Nakai, Shauna Bribiescas scores just under 15 points per game while connecting on nearly half of her three-point attempts.

The Lady Matadors will counter with a tenacious defense that has really solidified over the last month, having not allowed an opponent to score over 70 points in conference play since Pima’s 73 on December 2nd.

Arizona Western has also excelled on the glass in recent weeks, dominating Tohono O’odham on Saturday by 13. Harria Mendoza was a crucial part of that effort, compiling a 12 point, 15 rebound double-double in the eleven point win.

It’s the Lady Matadors who will play the part of the hunter Wednesday night, sitting in a three-way tie for sixth place, two games back of fourth place Pima.

Follow both games on AM 560 KBLU in Yuma or via livestream.com (quality and availability depending on internet connection) starting with the pre-game show at 5:20pm. Women scheduled for a 5:30pm tip and the Men will follow immediately after.

 

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