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Mats hold of Pima to win
Arizona Western scored 18 of the first 22 points. Pima had an answer.
The Matadors opened the second half with four three-pointers as part of a 14-3 run. The Aztecs had an answer.
Taking advantage of suddenly cold Matador free-throw shooting and getting closer than seven points late? The Aztecs had no answer for that.
Despite giving the Matadors a run for their money, AWC still held off the Aztecs 76-69 Tuesday at The House in a Arizona Community College Athletic Conference contest.
AWC (5-3 overall, 2-0 ACCAC) led 18-4 and 24-9 early and were thoroughly dominating Pima (4-3, 0-2). But the Matadors went cold, their rebound advantage evaporated, and the Aztecs got as close as four with less than a minute to go in the first half.
“I would have liked to have better play at the end of the first half and second half,” said AWC coach Charles Harral, whose team missed all 12 first-half 3-pointers. “We would get big leads, then turn it over against the press, and in the first half not taking good shots because we had a 19-point lead.”
But the Matadors scored 18 of the next 21 points behind 3-pointers from Aaseem Dixon, Darien Walker and Marvin Whitt. Tanner Clayton put an exclamation point on the run with a dunk, giving the Matadors a 50-31 lead with 16:20 left.
“It brings up the tempo,” said Dixon, who finished 4 for 7 on 3-pointers and had 15 points for the Matadors.. “Coach gave us some confidence, told us to keep shooting and that they were going to fall. We just kept it up.”
Pima wasn't done, scoring 10 straight to get the lead into single digits. Then the teams traded eight-point leads as the Aztecs trailed 58-49 with 9:32 left. But one final AWC run put them up 69-50 in the final five minutes on another barrage of 3-pointers by Dixon and Whitt.
The Matadors struggled with their free-throw shooting late — finishing 5 for 16 in the second half — and allowed the Aztecs to get within seven points more than once in the final 20 seconds, but it was too little too late.
Marvin Whitt flirted with a triple-double for the Matadors, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
“Marvin obviously did a great job moving the ball,” Harral said. “I was really proud of him. He's been really focused the last two games, and we're going to be as good as Marvin is.”
Clayton led the Matadors with 18 points and tied with Whitt for a game-high nine rebounds. Walker had 16 points for the Matadors.
Terrence Carroll led Pima with 17 points. Former Kofa and San Luis center Orlando Lopez did not play.