Men's Basketball | 02/03/2021

MBB: #18 AWC Wins Slugfest with Cochise

Box Score

YUMA, Ariz---After opening the season with dramatic, high-scoring affairs, the #18 Arizona Western Matadors (3-0 overall, 2-0 ACCAC) proved their could win a dramatic, defensive slugfest in their 59-55 win over the Cochise Apaches (0-2 overall, 0-1 ACCAC) Tuesday night at The House.

The game’s rugged base began from the start as neither team could get the scorers going against aggressive and physical defenses.

Yaxel Lendeborg set AWC out front with hustle on the glass and a pair of put backs. Lendeborg had 6 points and 4 rebounds at the break.

Evan Butts hit a pair of three’s early to give the Matadors 8 of his 11 and the Matadors held Cochise to 27% from the field, including 0-7 from three in the half.

While it may have seemed like the offenses were poised to break out in the second half, it continued to be a physical, tight contest in the second half. Stephen Byard chipped in 14 of his 21 points in the period, the only player with double-digit points in a half.

Still, the Matadors had opened their lead to 16 with just under 12 minutes left before Cochise made their move. Behind Byard, Patrick Samoura (who nabbed 10 of his 17 rebounds in the second half) and Jalun Trent, Cochise whittled the AWC lead to just 2 in the final minutes.

Cochise outrebounded AWC 14-6 in that stretch and the Matadors went without a field goal for the final 8 minutes.

But Lendeborg contributed a huge block late in the game leading to Butts being fouled on a three-point attempt, for which he would cash in at the line, to secure the game.

James Dunlop also played big minutes for the Matadors coming off the bench, chipping in 6 points including two offensive put-backs and 7 total boards.

Butts finished with a team high 11 points, Lendeborg finished with 10.

Arizona Western’s defense was solid the entire night and help Cochise without a three on eleven attempts.

The Matadors will now turn their sights to Eastern Arizona over the next two weeks. Arizona Western will play both of their road games in Thatcher this weekend, beginning Friday night at 5:30pm and then conclude at 2:00pm on Saturday. Both of those games will be streamed on the Eastern Arizona College Athletics Website.

EAC and AWC will return to Yuma the following weekend, February 12th and 13th at The House, concluding the season series.

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.