Rise Again

PHOENIX, Ariz. – It seemed like the Arizona Western College men’s basketball team (17-8 overall 12-5 ACCAC) was toast when ninth-ranked Phoenix College (19-6 overall, 15-2 ACCAC) went up 78-68 with less than 6:30 to go. Instead, the Mats rallied and stormed back to win 93-90 to snap Phoenix’s 12 game winning streak.

AWC’s Marvin Mapage jammed a ferocious two-hander to put AWC up 83-82 with less than two and a half minutes to go. Brandon McGhee found him with a slick pass as Phoenix pressured the perimeter.

That dunk capped a 10-0 run that started when McGhee hit two free throws with 3:40 to play. Daryl Adams and Dajuan Beard both drilled three’s during the run, and the Mats had new life.

The Mats got a stop, and then Beard sliced down the lane and hit a twisting layup. After Phoenix’s Rashaad Goolsby hit two free throws, Beard swished a three off a pass from Adams. Goolsby answered with another deuce, but Adams drained a straightaway three that felt like a dagger for a 91-86 lead. Beard poured in 22 of his 26 points in the second half, and Adams finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds.

Beard’s free throws put the Mats up 93-88 with 22 seconds to go, and Phoenix only scored two points in the last 20 seconds.

The first half was back-and-forth. AWC started cold, but the defense kept it close. Andre Allen hit a three that tied things at eight, and the Mats took a 15-12 lead two minutes later when Alfonso Plummer drilled a three.

Phoenix retook the lead halfway through the half and stretched it to 31-22 on a Lavette Parker three. Parker led all scorers with 29 points while making seven three’s.

Beard attacked and scored for the Mats, and AWC reeled it back in. Plummer hit two more three’s during a 12-2 run that finished with AWC up 34-33 with five minutes to go in the half. Plummer finished with 16 points.

The two sides went back and forth for the rest of the half, and Beard put AWC up 43-40 with a tough layup in traffic. Goolsby cut the Matador lead to 43-42 with a jumper at the buzzer at the break. Goolsby finished with 28 points.

Out of halftime, it was a tight contest. AWC pushed the lead to 57-51 on a Plummer three, but Phoenix responded. The Bears ripped off a 14-2 run powered by Parker. Parker hit a couple of three’s that gave Phoenix a six point lead.

AWC cut it to 65-62, but Phoenix stayed on the gas. Parker took advantage of a few AWC defensive miscues, and the Bears went up 78-68 with less than 6:30 to go.

The Mats are back in action at home on Wednesday. AWC hosts Central Arizona at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Children 12 and under and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for FREE!

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. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.

--MATADORS--

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