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YUMA, Ariz. – Wednesday night the Arizona Western College men’s basketball team snapped out of a funk in a big way. AWC (6-5 overall, 1-2 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) had dropped its first two conference games and had lost five of six. With Cochise College (8-1 overall, 3-1 ACCAC) in town, the Mats erupted and blasted the Apaches 101-84. AWC never trailed and led by as much as 29 during the second half. Five players scored in double figures for the Mats.

During the first half, the Mats locked down on defense and forced Cochise to shoot 29% from the floor. AWC only shot 40% from the floor, but the team hit five three’s.

Daryl Adams drilled a three after Lamont Traylor knocked down a layup, and the Mats led 5-0. A few possessions later, Brandon McGhee stretched the lead to 13-4 with four straight points.

Cochise rattled off six straight to make it a one possession game, but Ezekiel Alley calmly sank two free throws with 11:33 to go in the first half to stop the run. Cochise pulled within two with 9:30 to play in the half on a Caleb Highley bucket, but Adams responded with a basket for a 17-13 lead. Adams had 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Mats started building steam and closed the first half strong. Dajuan Beard hit a three, and then Adams knocked another one down. With 7:20 left in the first half, Beard put the Mats up by 10, 26-16. Beard had 14 points, four rebounds and six assists in the game.

Cochise drew within four, but Alley torched the Apaches for five straight points with a three-point play and another layup for a 31-25 lead. Alfonso Plummer closed the half with nine straight points for AWC and a 40-28 lead at the break. Plummer finished with 19 points to snap out of a mini-slump.

The Mats came out of the locker room on fire for the second half. AWC went 10-16 from three-point range, and Alley was boiling-lava-hot. He knocked down four second-half three’s on the way to 17 second-half points and finished with a game high 25. The freshman added seven rebounds and five assists.

Arizona Western quickly stretched the lead to 21 at 56-35, and Cochise simply couldn’t recover. Mahki Morris was the only Cochise player to hit a three for most of the second half, and he finished with 21 points.

The Mats led by as much as 29 after yet another three put the team up 87-58 with 7:00 left in the game.

Chaz Mack led Cochise with 23 points.

On Saturday, AWC hits the road to take on Tohono O’odham Community College. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. 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 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.

--MATADORS--

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