25 wins, a region championship, and the first national tournament appearance since 2006 have produced the Arizona Western College Matador’s first trip to the NJCAA National Tournament, held in Hutchinson, Kansas, in over a decade.
The Matadors will kick-off the tournament, in the very first game, against the Cape Fear Sea Devils from Wilmington, North Carolina Monday morning at 10am CT (8am in Arizona).
Arizona Western earned their bid after posting a 16-6 conference record to earn the #2 seed in the Region I Playoffs. The Mats held off the Mesa Thunderbirds in the first round at home in Yuma and received another home game when the fourth seeded Gila Monsters of Eastern Arizona knocked out top-seed Cochise in double-overtime.
With the Gila Monsters coming to Yuma, the Matadors fought off the upstarts in overtime to earn their third straight trip to the District Final.
The District Final brought Snow College from Utah down to Yuma for another home game for the Matadors.
The 16th ranked Badgers came into the District Final with the top three-point shooting team in the country averaging 13.3 made three’s per game.
The Matador defense held them to just two three’s in the first half and built a fifteen point advantage at halftime.
Arizona Western had to withstand a barrage in the second half, however, as Snow connected on nine more three’s. Still, the Matadors prevailed to book their ticket to Kansas.
Their athletic first round opponents, the Cape Fear Sea Devils, come from the other side of the country in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Cape Fear, out of Region 10, posted a 26-5 record in 2018-19 with a 9-3 in the Carolinas Junior College Conference.
The Sea Devils are a sophomore laden team with four different second year players averaging at least 10 points per game, a fifth just under that mark, complimented by a freshman over ten points per game as well.
Sophomore Guard JJ Miles leads the Sea Devils averaging 15.1 ppg while shooting 34% from three.
Guard Donte Tatum helps facilitate the balanced offense with almost five assists per game while also leading the team in rebounding at 7.5 boards per game.
Defensively, shot blocker Quate McKinzie registers nearly two blocks per game.
Collectively, the Sea Devils are one of the best rebounding teams in the country ranking in the top 20 in both rebounds per game and rebound margin, capitalizing on their ability to outrebound teams.
All NJCAA Tournaments will be streamed live by NJCAA TV. Single game passes are available for $4.99 or a Championship Season Pass will grant access to the entire tournament for $14.99.
For more information the 2019 NJCAA National Tournament, visit tournament central.