YUMA, Ariz.--- The Arizona Western Matadors (12-5 overall, 6-3 ACCAC) used a massive first half to dispatch the Glendale Community College Gauchos (9-7 overall, 4-5 ACCAC) 95-89 Saturday evening at The House.
The win snaps a two game losing streak for AWC while securing Head Coach Charles Harral’s Milestone 200th victory.
The Matadors came out with the intensity befitting the combination of wanting to snap their skid and earn their coach the personal accomplishment.
Jalen Townsell picked up where he left off in the second half at Phoenix on Wednesday, sparking the offense with 16 points in the first twenty minutes to give the Mats a 53-34 lead at the end of the half. The Matadors tight defense generated numerous offensive looks, creating ten points off turnovers in the half.
The Matadors are no stranger to erasing big leads but had to fend off the Gauchos on a tear of their own. Glendale quickly cut into the 19 point defecit in the second half, pulling within two around the ten minute mark.
But Arizona Western had a counter attack to the Glendale run, as Lawrence Long hit a pair of three’s while the lead was in jeopardy to push the advantage back to double-digits.
Townsell added six more points in the second half to finish with a team high 22. Long’s monster half helped him finish with 20. Gio Nelson with 14, Cash Williams with 15 and Daniel Kiely with 10 rounded out the balance attack for Arizona Western.
Still, It was Arizona Western’s defense that had to hold tight down the stretch and Long came up with a big block on Cassius Carmichael on what would have brought the game back to a four point difference with just a minute to go.
Arizona Western delivered two more stops to hold on to their first victory of the calendar year.
It also makes Charles Harral the third coach in over sixty years of AWC Basketball to achieve 200 victories alongside mentors Kelly Green and Jim Amick.
The Gauchos’ Tyrell Handy led all scorers with 26 points. The Gaucho’s leading scorer, Joshuwan Johnson was held to just 10 points on 2 of 14 shooting as the Matador’s Jordan Green was stifling as his primary defender.
The win also sets up a key division one matchup Wednesday night when AWC hosts Eastern Arizona in The House. The women start at 5:30pm, the men will follow at 7:30pm.
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.