GLENDALE, Ariz. – Despite trailing most of the game, the Arizona Western Matadors (16-12 overall, 10-10 ACCAC) held a lead midway through the second half, but ultimately fell 75-71 to the Glendale Gauchos (17-10 overall, 12-8 ACCAC) Wednesday night.
The two teams traded buckets throughout the opening five minutes with Glendale always scoring first. The Gauchos extended the lead to 12-8 before the Matadors erased that gap, and Glendale went ahead again, this time by six.
Early on, both teams were getting to the basket, with just five fouls called over the first fifteen minutes.
While Glendale received some outside shooting from Caleb Edwards, it was their inside combination of Terrell Handy and Adam Hamilton that helped hold the lead.
Arizona Western hung around thanks to three first-half three-pointers from Gio Nelson and Cash Williams’ 10 points in the half.
Glendale held a 37-35 lead at the break.
In the second half, Handy was the primary catalyst for Glendale’s offense but Cassius Carmichael contributed an array of dunks with a three.
The Matadors balanced attack saw Nelson, Williams, and Kiely all finish in double figures while Jordan Greene added nine points.
Arizona Western’s run came midway through the half as the Matadors built a six point advantage.
But Glendale responded behind Hamilton and a third Edwards three pointer ultimately holding the lead late.
It was a three-point lead with just seconds left, but Hamilton hit a free throw to put the game out of reach.
Nelson led the Matadors with 19 points, Williams had 17 and Kiely rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14.
Handy led all scorers with 21 despite fouling out with 3:27 remaining.
Arizona Western will turn its attention to a key Division I opponent on Saturday, traveling to Thatcher to take on Eastern Arizona at 7:30pm. The game will be available via the Eastern Arizona College livestream. The Matadors return home Tuesday for Sophomore Night against Scottsdale.
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.