MBB: Mats Lock Down Pirates in Desert Classic


YUMA, Ariz---It was not an exact repeat but it sure made the Matadors feel at home as Arizona Western (3-2) again scored 91 points its second win over Palo Verde College in three days, this time during their home opener that completed the first day of the 2019 Desert Classic Friday night.

The 91-70 victory puts the Matadors above .500 for the first time this season.

The Matadors led early at 17-8 but a 16-2 run by the Pirates turned the game in favor of Palo Verde midway through the first half.

But the Matador defense stiffened to close the first half, holding the Pirates without a field goal for the final 4 minutes and 24 seconds of the first half. AWC led 43-36 at the break.

That carried into the second half as PVC did not score in the first four minutes of the second half, and the Matador defense did not allow a field goal for five more minutes. That marked a scoreless streak of nine minutes and thirty-one seconds.

By that point, the Matadors had firm control of the game with a sixteen point lead.

It was an effective night from the field as AWC shot 53% from the field. Kiely led the Matadors in scoring with 22 points while Gio Nelson added 20 points and 13 boards. Jalen Townsell scored 17 points with Cash Williams rounding out the double-digit scorers with 11.

The Matadors defense may have stole the show in the home opener. Two nights after holding Palo Verde to just 51 points in Blythe, the Matadors delivered another stingy performance in the home opener by holding Palo Verde to 34% from the field even though the Pirates took seven more shots.

The Mats also forced 20 turnovers that led to 21 points.

Arizona Western concludes the 2019 Desert Classic Saturday night when they host the Grays Harbor Chokers at 7:30pm.

© Arizona Western College