TUCSON, Ariz---A cold spell late in the second half cost the Arizona Western Matadors (10-3 overall, 4-1 ACCAC) the lead, and eventually, the game in an 87-79 loss to the Pima Aztecs (5-4 overall, 3-2 ACCAC) at the Aztec Gymnasium Monday night.
The loss, which comes in the middle of a three games in five days stretch, snaps a nine-game win streak while giving the Matadors their first loss in conference play this season continuing to show how wide open the ACCAC is with a number of talented teams.
Arizona Western started slow and quickly fell behind by double-figures to the Aztecs in the first half. Pima extended the lead to as much as 13 with more than six minutes remaining in the first. The Mats offense drew near towards the end of the period as Cash Williams hit a pair of three's on consecutive possesions.
But the Matadors re-entered the game in the second half with their stifling defense and forced 22 total turnovers from the Aztecs while only giving back 10. That alone helped translate into fifteen more shots than the Aztecs in the second half.
However, the points off turnovers slowed as the Matadors increase in opportunities only built a four point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Clinging to a slim lead, the Matador offense drew cold and finished the second half 2 of 19 from the arc while Pima was a more than effecient 8 of 13 from three while roaring back into the lead. The Mats couldn't answer as the offense finished at just 38% from the field for the game and couldn't create many second chances being outboarded by nineteen for the game.
Pima's Rashad Smith led all scorers with 23 points while adding 12 rebounds. Kaylon Tippins also had a double-double for the Aztecs with 13 points and 10 boards.
The Mats had four players in double-figures with Cash Williams leading the way with 17 points. Daniel Kiely had 15 while the bench produced big nights from Lawrence Long, with 13, and Pharoh Allah with 11.
The Matadors were the last remaining unbeaten team in conference and carried the mantle with a couple impressive wins over the last week. They wrap up a busy end to the semester by hosting Chandler-Gilbert Wednesday night at The House in Yuma at 7:30pm. The Women's Game will preceed the contest at 5:30pm and both games will be streamed via AWC TV.
Tickets are just $5 or $3 from Military and Senior Citizens, students enter free with I.D.