TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona Western College men’s basketball team blitzed Pima Community College on Tuesday night to close out the regular season. The offense was cooking, and the defense was suffocating as the Mats jumped out to a double digit lead in the first half of a 98-71 win. The win locked up the first overall seed in the Region I, Division I Playoffs for home court advantage. With Phoenix College losing, the Mats also claimed a share of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference title for the first time since 2008-09.
With a 6-5 lead two minutes in, the Mats (24-6 overall, 17-5 ACCAC) shut down Pima for five straight minutes and didn’t allow a basket. The offense shared the ball, and Lamont Traylor started a 15-0 run with a jump hook. During that stretch, Rob Jones snared an offensive rebound and scored to push the lead to 15-5. Traylor capped the run with four straight points for a 21-5 lead. He led all scorers with 24 points and added nine rebounds.
Pima (19-11 overall, 13-9 ACCAC) finally scored, but the Matadors didn’t let off the gas. Traylor ripped off four more points a few minutes later to put the Mats up 20. He had 14 points in the first half.
The Matador defense stayed locked in and didn’t allow Pima to get comfortable from beyond the three-point line. AWC held the second-best shooting team from deep in the conference to two three’s in the half and 24% from the floor.
In the first half, AWC racked up 12 assists on 24 made shots while shooting 55% from the floor. Plus, AWC grabbed 11 offensive rebounds while only missing 19 shots, and the team outrebounded Pima 32-14.
At halftime, AWC led 56-31 after Daryl Adams hit an acrobatic layup while drawing a foul. He hit the free throw to finish the half with 10 points, and he had 13 for the game.
Pima came out on the attack in the second half and finally got a few shots to drop. The Aztecs outscored the Mats 18-10 over the first six minutes and trimmed the lead to 66-49.
Torin Webb answered with a layup at the rim and then whipped a pass to Traylor for a layup that made it 70-49. Webb finished with 16 points and five assists. Rob Jones hit a point-blank layup off a nice pass from Dajuan Beard, and Chris Famous scored seven straight to extend the lead to 79-49 with 10:20 to play. Beard had six assists.
From that point on, Pima played out the string and traded buckets back and forth with Arizona Western. The Mats continued to share the ball on offense, and the lead grew to 33 before Pima cut it down to 27 at the end.
The Matadors host Central Arizona College on Saturday for the first round of the Region I Playoffs. No passes will be accepted for the game, and tickets are $5 for adults. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm.
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 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.