By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (15-5, 7-6 in ACCAC) has gone 3-3 so far in the new year. The Aztecs found themselves in four tight games recently, with all the contests being decided by just a few points one way or the other.
The Aztecs came up short against No. 5 Phoenix College in their road game on Jan 24. The 77-73 loss marked their second in a row.
Sophomore Matt O’Boyle was unable to be effective in the first half but helped the Aztecs push for a comeback in the second half.
Sophomore Murphy Gershman had 22 points and 16 rebounds in his 12th double-double game of the season, sophomores Bryan Cervantes and Ezini Ugbisien both finished with 13 points on the night.
The Aztecs fell to Chandler-Gilbert 81-79 on Jan 21. The closely contested game saw eight lead changes as both teams fought hard.
Key mistakes by the Aztecs and big plays for Chandler-Gilbert set the tempo for the game and ended up being the difference.
O’Boyle, who led the team with 23 points, came just shy of hitting a game winning buzzer beater. Gershman had another double-double on the night, 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cervantes added 14 points on the night.
The Aztecs almost faced another overtime contest against Scottsdale Community College on Jan. 17 in Scottsdale.
With 3.1 seconds left in the game O’Boyle drew a foul and hit one of his two free throws to give the Aztecs the 89-88 victory after a failed shot by Scottsdale.
O’Boyle ended the game with a team-high 26 points, aided by Gershman who scored 25 points and had 18 rebounds. Freshman Justice Martion finished the game with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Pima earned a hard fought 86-84 overtime victory against South Mountain Community College on Jan 14.
Gershman carried the Aztecs with his 33 point, double-double and his buzzer beating three-pointer in overtime to end the game.
The entire game was a battle with neither team gaining a double-digit lead. The teams went back and forth during the end of regulation, but behind a 10-2 run by Pima and two clutch free throws by Martion the Aztecs were able to force overtime.
Martion finished with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double and Cervantes added 12 points of his own.
The Aztecs defeated Central Arizona 89-87 on Jan. 10 at home. Pima entered the second half down two points and continued to trail for the first 13 minutes.
Pima went on 15-2 run to gain the lead late in the game; Ugbisien sealed the game for the Aztecs by grabbing the last rebound.
Gershman had a game-high 24 points to lead the Aztecs to victory. O’Boyle, Cervantes, Martion and freshman Andre Bearden all finished with double digit points.
A nine-point halftime deficit doomed the Aztecs against Arizona Western on Jan. 7. Pima began to come back in the second half, cutting Arizona Western’s lead down to one, but weren’t able to complete the comeback.
Martion led the Aztecs with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double on the night. Gershman finished with 16 points, trailed closely by Paige with 13.
PCC will face Tohono O’Odham CC on Jan. 28 at the West Campus after the Aztec Press goes to print. Coverage of the game will be included next issue.
Over the break, the team dominated in the Holiday Ball-Out Tournament en route to a 4-0 tournament record.
In their first game of the tournament, the Aztecs defeated Trinity Prep 71-33. O’Boyle led the team with 25 points followed by Cervantes who had 20.
The second game of the tournament was a much better match against San Diego Prep. Martion dropped 23 points to lead the Aztecs to a 68-62 victory. Freshman Dorian Paige finished the contest with 17 points.
Pima came alive offensively in the semifinals as they defeated South Shore Prep 132-80. Martion led the Aztecs with a double-double 32 points and 15 rebounds. Four other Pima players scored in double digits.
The Aztecs capped their win streak off with a 74-66 win against Balboa Prep in the championship game. Martion led PCC in points for the third game in a row with 19 points, Cervantes finished right behind him with 17.