Defensive Intensity

COOLIDGE, Ariz. – Defense powered the Arizona Western College men’s basketball team (9-6 overall, 4-3 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) on Saturday afternoon. The Mats relentlessly hounded Central Arizona College (5-9 overall, 1-6 ACCAC) in the half court, and AWC knocked down shots on the way to an 88-67 win. Four players hit double figures for AWC, and nine different players scored.

AWC never trailed in the game and jumped out to an early 7-0 lead by finding the open man on offense. Brandon McGhee scored the first bucket and then whipped a pass to Daryl Adams for an open three, and then McGhee found Lamont Traylor for a bucket.

CAC called a timeout and scored four straight points, but the Mats responded. Over the next few minutes, AWC slowly extended the lead to double digits with a pair of three’s by Ezekiel Alley and a runner by Andre Allen that made it 19-9. Alley had 15 points, and Allen finished with 10.

After the Vaqueros made it 19-11 with 10:04 to go in the first half, the Mats locked everything down on defense. Central Arizona didn’t score another point until the 4:19 mark of the first half. Meanwhile, the Mats rattled off 10 points to build a 29-13 lead.

The lead grew to 34-13 on a three-pointer by Alley with 3:00 left in the first half before Central Arizona found a slight rhythm. The Vaqueros outscored the Mats 13-3 over the final few minutes to cut the Matador lead to 37-26 at the break.

Arizona Western came out of halftime focused again, and the defense never really gave ground in the second half. The Matador offense repeatedly gashed Central Arizona’s defense while the Matador defense didn’t bend. AWC went on a 20-4 run over the first six-and-a-half minutes of the half.

CAC never really threatened from that point on. Lamont Traylor bullied his way to 12 second half points for AWC, and it seemed like he was always in position to grab an offensive rebound or hit a layup when the Mats felt any pressure. He led the team with 16 points.

Dajuan Beard added 12 points for the Mats. Danny Garrick led Central Arizona with 24 points.

AWC heads home to take on Glendale Community College on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m., and tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Children 12 and under and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for FREE!

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 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.

--MATADORS--

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