Men's Basketball | 02/25/2008
Matador Men's Basketball clinches ACCAC Regular Season Title
Yuma, Arizona February 26, 2008 Arizona Western College is proud to announce that the AWC Men's Basketball team has officially won the ACCAC Regular Season Title by virtue of their 81-75 victory tonight against Glendale. By winning the regular season crown, the Matadors also clinched the #1 seed in the Region I Division I Playoffs next week, and have earned a bye all the way to the Region I Championship Game on Saturday, March 8th. The Matadors will host an undetermined opponent at 'The House' on the AWC Campus that night in a 7:30PM tipoff. It's the first outright regular season title for the Matadors since 2005, when they later won the Region I title and made the first of back-to-back appearances in the NJCAA Tournament.
The Matadors actually clinched a tie for the regular season title a week ago with their road win last Wednesday night against Chandler-Gilbert, but because of their Saturday night loss to Mesa, the outright title remained just out of their grasp. The Matadors had to battle for the entire 40 minutes with the upstart Gauchos, who cut a 17-point 2nd-half deficit down to just 4 with less than 2 minutes left. However, the Matadors were able to make some key free throws down the stretch and hold off the charge of the Gauchos. The win gives the Matadors a 25-3 overall record and a 19-2 mark in ACCAC play. They own a 2-game edge over 2nd place Eastern Arizona, who officially determined their playoff fate as well Tuesday night by defeating Yavapai College in Thatcher, 89-76. The win-coupled with Cochise's 93-73 defeat of 3rd-place Mesa-officially clinched the #2 seed for Eastern Arizona and officially declared Mesa as the #3 seed. The 4th and final playoff seed will be determined Friday night in the regular season finale, with Cochise and Central Arizona (AWC's Friday night opponent) tied for 4th place, each with a conference mark of 11 wins and 10 losses. Central Arizona controls their own destiny, since a Vaquero win Friday night in Coolidge will give them the tiebreaker over the Apaches. The Region I Division I Playoffs will commence Tuesday night, March 4th at Theo Heap Gymnasium in Mesa, with the 3rd-seeded Thunderbirds hosting either the Vaqueros or the Apaches. The winner of that game will then travel to Thatcher on Thursday, March 6th to face the 2nd-seeded Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters, with the winner of that matchup heading to Yuma on March 8th to face the Matadors. Matador fans can catch all the action of any playoff game the Matadors are involved in LIVE on the Matador Sports Network: SportsRadio 560 KBLU on the radio; the brand-new AWC Athletics website (www.azwestern.edu/athletics) on the internet courtesy of Audio Sports Online; and AWC TV (Time-Warner Cable Channel 74) on television. Saturday's game will be broadcast on radio and internet starting at 7:15PM, and on television beginning at 7:30PM. The winner of that matchup will advance to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, which begins on Tuesday, March 18th.
Meanwhile, the Lady Matadors' 'magic number' entering Friday night's action is 1-which means that any combination of a Matador win or Cochise loss puts the Lady Matadors in the Region I Playoffs for the first time in 4 seasons. The Lady Matadors will face off against the #1 team in the nation, undefeated Central Arizona College. Cochise will travel up to Prescott to battle the Yavapai Lady Roughriders, who have already clinched the #2 seed in next week's Region I Playoffs and the right to host the Region I Semifinals next Wednesday, March 5th. The Lady Matadors held their playoff ground earlier tonight, using a 36-7 run midway through the game to beat Glendale, 70-47. The win gives the Lady Mats an overall mark of 21-8 and an ACCAC record of 15-6, which is one game better than the Apaches' 14-7 mark. Matador fans can tune into the radio and internet legs of the Matador Sports Network Friday night to see how they fare. The Underhill Transfer Lady Matador Pre-Game Show will start the coverage at 5:15PM Friday night from Coolidge, with the women's game starting at 5:30PM, and the men's game tipping off at 7:30PM.