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Complete AWC team beats South Mountain
Charles Harral is used to seeing a complete team effort on the defensive end of the ball.
The coach of the Arizona Western men's basketball team got to see that team effort on offense Saturday in a 84-72 win over South Mountain.
“Our offense carried us tonight,” said Matador guard Darien Walker, one of three AWC players with a team-high 13 points. “We weren't really stopping them in the first half, but our defense picked up in the second half.”
Six Matadors finished in double figures, including the 13-point nights for Walker, Anthony Alston and Tanner Clayton. Clayton added 13 rebounds, while Carlos Perez had 12 points and 11 boards.
Aaseem Dixon added 10 and Marvin Whitt 12 for the Matadors. The balanced scoring was the opposite of what happened for the Cougars, who got 32 points, including 5 for 6 3-point shooting, from Johnell Thompson.
“They made some very difficult shots,” Harral said. “Johnell went 11 for 15, and he's hard to cover when he's hitting shots like that. He was making shots from between the 3-point line and midcourt when we were into him pretty good I thought.”
For the second home game in a row, the Matadors (14-4 overall, 9-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) trailed before the game started thanks to an administrative technical due to scoreboard technical issues. Daion Stafford made 1 of 2 technicals, but AWC scored the first bucket and didn't trail until 11:45 left in the game. Again, Stafford gave the Cougars (8-10, 2-8) the lead by going 1-for-2 from the line. AWC scored the next eight and the lead never shrunk below six the rest of the way.
The Matadors shot 49 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Cougars 41-21. Dixon and and Whitt, two of the top scorers for the Matadors this season, struggled from the floor, shooting a combined 6-for- 20 from the floor.
“It's big for us because we know any night it can be any one of us on the team,” Walker said. “It doesn't have to be one guy. It can be anyone, sophomore, freshman. It doesn't matter.”
Harral said it was one of the best offensive games of the year for AWC.
“They were in a zone all the time, we moved the ball around, got some open looks,” Harral said. “It could be considered (one of the best games) offensively, but I thought defensively in the first half it was the most incomplete game we played all year. But on offense it was one of our top two offensive games, anyway.”